Thursday, January 28, 2016

Review of Griffin Theatre's London Wall

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called London Wall. It was by John Van Druten and it was directed by Robin Witt. It was about life in the workplace in the 1930s in London. They have put women in the workplace and that was a big change because women weren't really considered as office workers before. They face challenges because a lot of the people are still very sexist, so women have to learn how to be comfortable and how to protect themselves in the workplace. This play is about deceit, love, and how from the outside an office can seem normal but inside a lot of drama happens. I thought that this was a really great show. I found it exciting and thrilling and I loved it a lot.

Pat Milligan (Rochelle Therrien) kind of connected all the stories together. She also was going through very hard times at the moment because she had just moved to the city and she didn't really know what she was doing. She is friends with Hec Hammond (George Booker) but he doesn't feel like they should only be friends, and sometimes she doesn't either but he can't buy her a bunch of fancy stuff, so she feels like she shouldn't be with him. Mr. Brewer (Nick Freed), however, is very rich and can buy her a lot of fancy stuff. But the problem is that he is not exactly a good person. And Miss Janus (Vanessa Greenway) tries to help Hec and Pat get together because she really wants them to be happy. She likes Pat a lot and she is doubting her own choices about love. From beginning to end you are always rooting for Hec and Pat because they seem like they would be a really good couple, but the problem is that they are too worried to actually express their feelings.

This play kind of reminded me of a old-fashioned version of The Office because there is a relationship you are rooting for, a really clueless boss (Ed Dzialo) who is nice person but not very helpful, and it is funny but also has sad moments. My favorite funny scene was the scene where Miss Hooper (Ashley Neal), Miss Buffton (Amanda Powell), and Birkinshaw (Michael Saguto) were reading evidence for a divorce case. They weren't just reading it and being sad. They were reading it and saying, "We shouldn't be reading this," and then immediately going back to reading it. They find the entire thing shocking and interesting. And their reactions are just hilarious. Miss Willesden (Mary Poole) is a rich old lady who doesn't have any family and she comes to the office to keep getting her will redone. She is one of my favorite funny characters because she is so lovable. But then you also feel sorry for her because she doesn't have anybody even though she seems like such a nice person. She was very enthusiastic and her outfits were all so vibrant (costumes by Rachel M. Sypniewski). She is also trying to help out young women who don't really know how to live life very fully yet.

I thought it was really cool that this play was written by a man, because I thought it could have been written by a woman because it faces a lot of difficulties about being a woman, like being harassed and being told you can't do something because you are a girl. I liked how Miss Janus was kind of the main character even though she was a woman, and she wasn't always perfect. She struggles with being sociable and with the ups and downs of her work and her life. He shows that Miss Janus is one of the smarter people that works there, even though she is a woman. Women's work is not valued very much in this office, but they do a good job anyway. I think he is trying to call attention to how people thought that women's ideas weren't worth listening to and that women didn't have any reason to talk about work--that should be for men. The women have a pretty good reason for wanting to get married and get out of the office because it is so bad to work there. I found it sad that that was what everyone thought was the best option because there are better options now, like having actual careers.

People who would like this show are people who like stories about young love, office drama, and rich vibrant old ladies. I think that people should definitely go see this show. It was a great way to spend the night because it was funny but really touched on serious topics too. I loved it!

Photos: Michael Brosilow

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