When We Were Women

BY SHARMAN MACDONALD
3 September 2015 — 3 October 2015

"a small but well formed gem: a play of great beauty and subtle power, presented with exceptional delicacy and care... There’s subtle expressionism to this production’s aesthetic, evident in James Turner’s spare set, David Gregory’s sound design and, especially, Mike Robertson’s outstanding lighting" Alex Ramon, Boycotting Trends

"a quietly haunting play that reveals a lot about the oppressiveness of family life and inherited sexual attitudes in wartime Scotland. Eleanor Rhode’s production, jointly presented by Snapdragon and the Orange Tree, is strong on atmosphere. Abigail Lawrie, who made a big impression as Krystal in the BBC adaptation of JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy, offers a fascinating blend of defiance and melancholy; Lorraine Pilkington and Steve Nicolson are very good as the deeply protective but morally flawed parents." Michael Billington, The Guardian

"Abigail Lawrie makes a memorable stage debut in this revival of Sharman Macdonald’s 1988 play set in wartime Scotland. She brings a finely judged mix of toughness and vulnerability to Isla, a woman trapped by the intensity of her relationship with her mother... Mark Edel-Hunt imbues Mackenzie’s monologues with wounded fervour."
Henry Hitchings, Evening Standard

"All the actors give luminous performances" Plays to See

"There is intensity, passion and intelligence in Mark Edel-Hunt's delivery, but also enough stillness and melancholy to bring a humanity and balance to the role. He is matched excellently by Abigail Lawrie as Isla, who shows fight and confidence that ensnare Mackenzie. Her conflicting feelings towards her mother are nicely drawn out, and you can feel the emotional turmoil as she returns to her family home. Lorraine Pilkington responds to this with steely energy as Maggie, and slots easily into the restless, tough role of matriarch, juxtaposed with Steve Nicolson’s staunch but jovial Alec. His performance brings a much-appreciated humour to the production, and his anecdotes and constant search for a dram more are warmly delivered. Sarah-Jayne Butler is a cool, silent predator as Cath, adding to the mystery of the show. More importantly though, throughout the piece the relationships between each character are carefully developed, and emotional and power balances carefully considered, especially with the theme of social expectations of the time running throughout the play." A Younger Theatre