Violet

To have an audience hanging on every word you say, for an hour, is a difficult feat indeed. It is one that is managed with aplomb in this fabulous one-woman play. We, the audience, meet Bertie. We have all met many people like her - a bartender down on her luck - but this is the first time we have truly had the opportunity to sit and listen to her tale. We join her at a crossroads in her life and hear her tale of how she met Violet and what occurred.

It is rare to come across a monologue where the writing is this delicate, the performance is this sublime and the production is this powerful.

Violet is written and performed by Bebe Sanders. She has cleverly written a tale set in the present, yet has its heart firmly located in the past. Ellie Gauge is the director and designer and has cleverly chosen to stage the play amidst a set made up of moving-boxes and old furniture filled with sand which hints at change, of memories made and memories lost, whilst at the same time keeping the audience always in mind of the beach. The coast, the edge, is a theme that is repeated several times throughout the piece and somehow always conjures up new emotions and feelings each time. It is a testament to the writing how well this is carried off. Bebe’s writing has just the right amount of irreverent humour to balance out the emotional core of the text. There are many lines which have you laughing one second and then crying the next. Only the very best storytelling has the ability to do this so major credit must go to the writing.

It is, however, her performance which will be remembered. As Bertie she shines. There is so much charisma and warmth oozing out of Bertie that we cannot help but be swept up and taken on her journey with her. From scene to scene she takes on a story with a lot of heart. Her quick asides to the audience are spot on. She soon has everyone gripped in the palm of her hand waiting for her next deadpan quip. She can be exceptionally energetic when she needs to be (she does need to be) and she can be perfectly still when the moment calls for it. It is in that stillness we hear and feel everything that Bertie is feeling. After an hour in her company we feel that we are truly Bertie’s friends. We know her and the characters that have shaped her life, and we know Violet. Bebe and Ellie have clearly worked extremely well together that the join between the two is practically invisible.

A special mention must also go to Julian Starr as the sound designer. The sound cues are delicate but well suited, transporting the audience from day to night and along the coast at the slightest effects which truly help bring this magical tale to life.

The set itself is both barren and unnecessary yet somehow glorious and triumphant. A few of the set ‘changes’ do feel slightly clunky and may simply be there as moments for Bebe to grab a breath and get ready for the next chapter but it’s also during these times where we get to see the sand being poured out, which is a beautiful piece of symbolism. My heart goes out to Ben Giles, production manager, who must have swept up so much sand in the course of this production.

All in all, I can not recommend Violet enough. This is my first experience of Poor Michelle Productions but I shall very much look out for future productions by this team. The Bunker Theatre too continues to grow in strength with consistently good starting places for new theatrical works.

I believe there is a future for this play and I sincerely hope it is good. It is rare to come across a monologue where the writing is this delicate, the performance is this sublime and the production is this powerful.

Reviews by Christopher James

Queen Elizabeth Hall

Briefs: Bite Club

★★★
Waterloo East Theatre

A Letter to Harvey Milk - The Musical

★★★★
Southwark Playhouse

The Lion

★★★★★
King's Head Theatre Pub

All That

★★★★
Shaftesbury Theatre

Be More Chill

★★★★★
Upstairs at the Gatehouse

Forever Plaid

★★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

“There’s no bullshit with Violet. She’ll say something blunt like, ‘life can be lonely’ and I’ll be like, ‘yeah it can’ and that’s it. Then we just crack on. It’s nice”

Violet is starting to forget, but she's got a long life to remember before she does. There are rights to wrong and ends to tie up; a life well lived is never neat. Generations younger, Bertie is at the beginning with no idea what lies ahead. She's looking for something to point her in the right direction.

From new playwright Bebe Sanders and award-winning company Poor Michelle, VIOLET is a new play about human connection and inter-generational friendships. It quietly explores themes of mental health, dementia, and loneliness without forgetting the often funny and absurd moments of ordinary life.

Most Popular See More

Come From Away

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Dear Evan Hansen

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets