Più Theatre have created an honest and thoughtful piece of slick verbatim theatre platforming the voices of young women from across the country. 26-year-old Caitlin Ince sets out to explore whether it has become easier or more difficult since she was a teenager to be a truly independent woman and to make meaningful choices beyond what is dictated by gender norms.
The talented company give consistently nuanced performances which do justice to the real people portrayed
The greatest strength of Broken Windows is in its self-awareness about being a piece of verbatim theatre. It addresses the baggage inherent to the interviewing process and acknowledges the role played by the background and life experience of the interviewee. The show intelligently situates the theatre-makers in context and thereby avoids exploiting its young subjects.
The talented company give consistently nuanced performances which do justice to the real people portrayed. They also make excellent use of the intimate performance space. Composer Matthew White has set extracts taken from interviews to music in the style of the National Theatre’s acclaimed verbatim piece, London Road. Musical repetitions structure the piece as a whole, as well as allowing seemingly mundane phrases (such as “I don’t know, I”) to develop a new poignancy.
The content of the piece is deliberately limited in scope, sticking to issues of body image and the aspirations of the young women interviewed. I would have liked to see some sort of resolution wrapping together the divergent threads explored - an answer to the question the piece sets out to tackle.
That said, Broken Windows is genuinely topical. For example, it draws on the recent controversy regarding the advertisement of a certain brand of protein powder that implores women to be ‘beach body ready’. The piece gives a voice to a group too often dismissed in the mainstream media, and for this, it is to be commended.