The Bondagers by Sue Glover is the current production at Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre.
I wonder if Mark Thomson has a master plan involving all female casts alternating with all male ones. Kill Johnny Glendenning did have one woman who played a pivotal role, so perhaps not.
There’s something attractive about single sex casts. Something about the non-verbalisms of single-sex living and the unspoken ways of behaving, thinking, reacting when the battle of the sexes stuff is removed is deeply interesting. At the same time all the women are acutely aware of their male counterparts and the pressures of the differences between the sexes.
The Bondagers begins slowly and for my getting a bit older hearing, a bit too quietly. Soon, however, we understand and separate the petty jealousies and the lowering storm clouds of communal living. We watch the playing out of biological imperatives with their inevitable spiral into tragedy. We listen to the characters tell of what is good (babies) while refusing to have sex with their husbands (no more babies, thank you). Characters who gradually allow reason into their blinkered thinking. characters whose reason was never strong and eventually deserts them.
The Bondagers is a warm and uplifting play about a way of life that must have been hard beyond anything a modern mind can encapsulate. Cleverly staged, beautifully written and thoroughly engaging. If you saw it before, go again. If you’ve never seen it go now.
Run continues – 15 th November ’14