“ego-free ensemble performance, and the best of people’s theatre” The Washing Up

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Today we can delight you with a review of our performance at #Your Place @Brighton Festival, by Guardian writer Colin Grant.

The great African American playwright, August Wilson designed dramas with the governing principle that they would be “for the people, by the people and near the people”. Wilson aimed to resurrect the standards of the “chitlin circuit” which stretched, not patronised, its working-class audiences, oh and entertained them as well. Something of that spirit and doctrine has infected the creators of The Washing Up, one of my highlights of this year’s Brighton Festival at the Hangleton Community Centre.

This is a joyous and celebratory riff on what on the surface would appear to be a mundane chore, but which is revealed – in the course of a dazzling hour of song, some dance, the beginnings of Alan Bennett-like monologues, and comic/absurdist transformations (for example of people into the unfancied utensils at the back of the drawer never selected for washing) – to be a reflection on the place of washing up in the human psyche. What has been lost in social interactions through the rise of the dreaded dish-washing machine?

With humble input from the director Kate McCoy and writer and lyricist, Nou Ra this is a generous, ego-free ensemble performance, and the best of people’s theatre fit for the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow or Theatre Royal Stratford East, or any venue that wants to see how plays can connect with local people in ways that are challenging, poignant and refreshing. The witty banter is probing and the songs sing. More songs please!

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