Sunday 13 December 2015

Reviews for The Singing Stones by Kay Adshead

Reviews for The Singing Stones by Kay Adshead

Photo by Mia Hawk

Photo by Sarah Auber

Photo by Mia Hawk
Photo by Mia Hawk

Photo by Mia Hawk

 “Some parts are so moving I was left with an ache in my stomach, others made me laugh at loud. … It’s a magnificent, fantastical roar – against a world in which half the population is excluded, ignored, derided, and mistreated.
No-one in writer/director Kay Adshead’s line of fire is safe, neither the dictators who dye their hair soot black (“The minute they do, they should be frogmarched off and lynched in the public square. That simple pre-emptive action would save several genocides”), nor the niqab-wearing British women starting a new life with fundamentalist fighters (“So you are prepared to trade in all the small daily hates for one great big one?. Quite possibly the biggest hate of all”).
Adshead was a co-founder of Mama Quilla theatre company in 1999 the aim of which was to offer a female perspective on the big issues of the day. This does - though sadly the prospects for significant change in the position of Arab women appear to remain in an imagined future. Daniel Neilson … One World

“It’s a poetic narrative performed with spirit and energy by the entire ensemble and tells the story of a woman who is beaten by guards and imprisoned but releases her spirit through her beautiful singing voice….. Adshead achieves a unique poetic power…… performed with spirit and energy by the entire ensemble” … Daily Telegraph

…” a strong and heady picture of women making history ……  some great moments of political criticism the playwriting is sometimes suddenly able to soar free of the gruesome realities of political defeat and to scatter a bouquet of sharply wrought images across the hot studio space which is home to the show. At moments like this, when Adshead’s imagination takes flight, you feel — like one of the characters says — “sick of all the small daily hates” and part of something bigger, freer… Aleks Sierz.. Arts desk

“The script is infused with powerful imagery and mesmerising poetry, which leaves no question of the playwright’s artistic understanding of the play’s deeply political subject. Feminist issues are intrinsic to the play, but do not distract from the stories themselves. It seems that the author is challenging not only the inequality of power between men and women, but also the inequality between women in the Western and Arab worlds. The play doesn’t aggressively argue a political point, but instead lucidly shows us the plight of women and children in the Arab Spring, and in its penultimate scene conscientiously dissects the difficulties of respectfully communicating this bloody conflict on the stage.” … Felix online

 It is an invitation to listen, to witness, and to speak up”.,,, East End Review
“ One of the unique delights of the production is that all three plays make use of puppetry extremely effectively. For the middle play, a child-sized puppet represents a young girl named Ru’yah in each scene. Ru’yah has a real presence, even among the nine human actors on stage. She represents a little girl, who is forced to witness unbearable horrors. Her mother seeks to protect her, to shield her eyes and ears. But we are left with the impression that this young girl has already seen and experienced a level of trauma which she will never recover from and that little girls like Ru’yah are suffering from Tunisia to Libya, Egypt to Syria”. The Fword

Michael Batz is, Artistic Director of La Compagnie Yorick , Paris. He has collaborated with Gabriel Garcia Marquez , Isabelle Allende, George Tabori, and has worked as director for 30 years.
“I have always admired the steely poetry and the political passion in Ads head’s writing, and here it is marvellously strong   as usual, but there is something new as well : the wickedly acid humour in the  scene, where a group of  earnest feminists  meet in  Camberwell to try and  write a play about The Arab Revolutions was a revelation, utterly unexpected, and  disarming, truly great comedy. One could quite easily see a whole play developing from this departure, on this evidence Adshead is not just a great dramatic poet but a very funny comic writer.”

Sue Phelan is an ex journalist and a painter.

“The topicality of Ads head’s latest thought- provoker, The Singing Stones, is impressive. On the day the three schoolgirls go missing, off to join Isis, there they were, on stage sharing their disturbing but totally credible stories...Mama Quilla takes the lead once more, in producing cutting edge, politically relevant, theatre.
Adshead, with her large, talented cast, took a difficult subject and created a triad of plays about the women's role in the Arab Spring. The plays highlighted the volatile situation and just how pivotal women were in what was happening. Forget the stereotypical presentation of Arab women, Adshead shows them as feisty individuals, who can also be subversive.
The Singing Stones is a wonderful, theatrical experiment which refuses to let the role women played in the uprisings be ignored or derided “.

Ross Arnold is a young theatre practioner,
“The Singing Stones was a deeply insightful look into a world and situation that many of us, including myself, choose not to think about. Kay Adshead’s heart and soul is in this play which can especially be seen in Play Two: Scene 6: is meta-theatrical scene where a gathering of women discuss the creation of a play that has already been created that raises awareness of many the issues explored. Each character in that scene showed to me a different personality type of the director and the conflict between choices of right and wrong. The scene, which itself was rather comedic compared to the rest of the play, was a great lighter contrast to the gritty settings of the conflicted areas shown and yet is arguably the most important scene of the piece.” –

Megan Freeborn is young theatre practioner , who recently returned from Tanzania where she volunteered to work in a nursery for Children orphaned by AIDS .
The ‘Singing Stones’ was a marvellous must see piece of theatre. It was a beautifully poetic piece, which was well performed by the cast. Adshead confronts women’s issues in the middle-east that most playwrights would cower away from; it is informative and addresses the issues we face in different countries in the world. The triad of plays are gripping from start to finish that make you think about the society we live in today, and what women of different cultures have to face every day. I found it to be a very visual and powerful piece that will stay with me for a very long time

 Rob Allyson is a Stage Manager
“ With so much news coverage over the past few years of the Arab Spring and the different uprisings there was a day to day sense of being overwhelmed and saturated by the entirety of the unfolding events.
Attempting to distil the female perspective from the news and online material available and craft this into a watchable and engaging production would always be a challenge. However, the production, even managing to find humour within such dark subject matter,”