THEATRE REVIEW:  her – Half Moon Children’s Theatre and touring  

It’s an “issues play” about the experiences of young women across a number of cultures and situations. The intention is to get the audience talking, thinking – and perhaps seeking, or finding ways to help. Everyone gets a list of charities such as Amnesty International and LBTH Violence against Women and Girls at the end.

Talented Shala Nyx plays all the roles. Sometimes she’s a London teenager. Then she variously becomes an abused middle Eastern refugee, a soldier, a Midlands young mum and much more. Sometimes she is in conversation with a second character she is playing via Ed Sunman’s digital projection. Her performance is splendid. When she disappears – very reluctantly – into a room with a man who wants sex in return for a bus ticket the Muslim girl next to me flinched several times. The sound effects made it chillingly graphic.

The imaginative lighting, projection, animation and screen set – and the way the action segues in and out of filmic devices – is impressive too. It’s a valiant attempt to create a thought provoking hour from real life stories – I have no doubt whatever that every cameo is based on or inspired by genuine testimony. War, as one of the Half Moon staff told the audience in the Q&A which followed the performance I attended, is universal and always current.

The problem with this show is that it doesn’t make particularly good theatre. It’s very bitty and the narrative is confusing.

Review by Susan Elkin