“Women Laughing” at the Old Red Lion Pub, IMG Cred: Chris Osburn

Enjoy a Laugh at "Women Laughing"

Looking to experience some original fringe theatre during your visit to London? Consider “Women Laughing” by British playwright, Michael Wall, being performed through the end of this month at London's Old Red Lion pub.

Wall's dark comedy takes its audience from the garden of a suburban London home to the grounds of a mental asylum along with two couples struggling to keep their marriages intact while coping with the emotionally cripplingly of mental illness. The subject matter is weighty stuff to be sure, but the driving dialogue and its top notch delivery punctuates the tension with plenty of laughs and just the right amount of tenderness. Besides, the performance space is located conveniently above a fantastic and comfy old boozer of a pub. A quick drink at intermission and another once the play is over accompanied by some play-inspired convo would be just the thing for a thoughtful and cultured night out on the town.

“Women Laughing” was written in the late 80s and first produced after the early death of Wall in 1992; he was only 44. His character driven play with only four actors – the two “crazy” husbands and their wives – confronts the issue of mental health amid the frustrations and aspirations of the 1980s. Poignantly and perhaps pathetically the same issue comes across just as relevant and as taboo now as then.

The powerful acting and dialogue both pack a wallop and are without doubt intensified by the play's sparse and intimate setting. The Old Red Lion's theatre is tiny. The set for “Women Laughing,” minimal.

This production of the play is the work of Blueprint Theatre Company, a small London-based company known for being to stage “rarely performed hidden gems and works” that “define an era” and developed themes of heritage. Learn more about Blueprint at blueprinttheatre.co.uk.

“Women Laughing” runs until the 27th of October at the Old Red Lion Theatre. The theatre is located upstairs above the Old Red Lion pub at 418 St John Street, EC1V 4NJ. The pub features a beer garden, a fully stocked bar with quality ales and a decent menu of pub grub favorites. The nearest Tube station is Angel. Find out more about the Old Red Lion at oldredliontheatre.co.uk.

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photo: Chris Osburn


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