The Regina Monologues by Rebecca Russell and Jenny Wafer, with Ladies in Waiting: The Judgement of
Teddington Theatre Club
Hampton Hill Theatre - 11 October 2018
The Regina Monologues by Rebecca Russell and Jenny Wafer, with
Ladies in Waiting: The Judgement of Henry VIII by James Cougar Canfield
Teddington Theatre Club Double Bill at Hampton Hill Theatre, until 13th October
Review by Eleanor Lewis
The fact that Anne of Cleves apparently smelt terrible is a good way to spark children’s interest in Tudor history which may be useful if you ever find yourself having to teach Tudor history to children. Anne of Cleves or Anna in The Regina Monologues, is however just one of six women who can all hold your attention completely for slightly more than an hour in the first of two short plays presented by TTC at Hampton Hill Theatre this week.
The Regina Monologues is a sharp, funny, well written short play which puts the six wives of Henry VIII into a modern context and imagines how the lives they lived might unfold now. All six wives are present onstage, taking turns to talk to the audience about their relationship with Henry. Annie (Anne Boleyn) is a suburban sex siren dreading the time “another woman like me” comes along once Henry tires of her. Katie (Catherine Howard) is an abused fifteen year old; Jane Seymour, in hospital gown, begins to go into labour; and Anna (Anne of Cleves) speed dates on her laptop, in full control of her life and her men, chasing the lifestyle rather than the man and with a philosophical, attitude towards life in general. Katherine (Parr) is the canny last wife, irritated by the stepchildren but willing to nurse the old man in order to reap the financial benefits after his death … …
The second play, Ladies in Waiting reverts to the sixteenth century. Henry VIII has died and is introduced into what seems to be purgatory by his fourth wife Anne of Cleves. What follows is relatively predictable as Anne and the other five wives treat him to 7-10 minutes each of home truths, each of them now uninhibited by the threat he constantly represented to them in life. The difficulty with this is that listening to one couple having a ‘domestic’ is relatively exciting, another five and the interest begins to wane. The unsurprising conclusion is that Henry, the ultimate ‘alpha male’ is, despite his own achievements, in fact defined by his wives and the huge historical presence of his daughter Elizabeth I.
Director Linda Sirker and her clever cast did an efficient job with the material they had. This was again very much a team performance and, although the queens were played by the same actors as in the first play, there were subtle changes of character and demeanour to reflect the period. Paul Furlong was a convincing bewildered, beleaguered and appropriately unsympathetic Henry … …
Read Eleanor Lewis’ full review at www.markaspen.wordpress.com/2018/10/08/regina
Photography by JoJo Leppink, Handwritten Photography
The Regina Monologues by Rebecca Russell and Jenn