BWW Review: 10, VAULT Festival
Playwright Lizzie Milton unearths ten stories previously buried deep inside white history and delivers them with forward storytelling and a no-holds-barred attitude.
10 is not only a celebration of womanhood and silent voices but a bona fide call to arms that struts the path of Morgan Lloyd Malcolm's Emilia. Portrayed are the lives of Æthelflæd and Mary Prince (Pamela Jikiemi), Princess Caraboo and Noor Inayat Khan (Lydia Bakelmun), Mary Seacole and Constance Markievicz (Naomi Knox), Gwen John and Joan Clarke (Beth Eyre) and Brenda Procter and Ada Lovelace (Rebecca Crankshaw).
From art to politics and science, they were all forgotten at the advantage of (usually) men. Milton writes an energetic and detailed script that feels slightly heavy-handed in terms of forthrightness at times. The cast do, however, project sheer confidence in their displays of frustration and determination, making it a piece of theatre with purpose and resolve.
The show is directed by Nastazja Somers, who ties the tales together with clever segues blended within the textual structure of the play. The characters take turns in explaining how they've been wronged, addressing the audience with their disappointment in being glossed over.
The restricted time dedicated to each of them is a clear limit of the format, as well as the inevitable change in tone and delivery of the snippets. As presented at VAULT, 10 could improve in cohesiveness but sets a solid feminist foundation and introduces a group of bright role models that would otherwise remain overshadowed by male giants.