Theatre Review - Iris, Three Minute Theatre, Manchester
PUBLISHED: 15:03 10 October 2014 | UPDATED: 15:03 10 October 2014
'Thought Provoking, Heart-breaking and Beautiful'
If you read any of my reviews in the past, you’ll know I read for escapism and, therefore, enjoy light-hearted storylines with a hint of action and romance. So when I was invited to watch the play IRIS I knew it would challenge me.
As a Creative Writing student, this play sparked my interest straight away. For starters, it is being performed at the 3M Theatre in Manchester. 3M (Three Minutes Theatre) is one of the cosiest, coolest little fringe theatres I have ever been to. Set in the heart of the very alternative Affleck’s Palace in Manchester, it’s honestly on a league of its own in terms of quirkiness. Being a small theatre also means it has a small stage and so, for any playwriting student, the concept of how to use the space wisely and effectively is also interesting. To add a cherry on the top of my interest sundae, IRIS is based on a true story, written and performed by Rebecca-Clare Evans and directed by the edgy film maker Natalie Kennedy.
I am not going to lie to you. Essentially, this is a play about the downwards spiral of domestic violence. According to Women’s Aid, 10% of emergency calls to the police relate to domestic abuse and, on average, 2 women are killed every week by a current or former partner. This means around a third of all female homicides. If those statistics weren’t alarming enough, domestic violence is a major factor leading to death in or related to pregnancy and childbirth. Worldwide, up to 70% of female murder victims were killed by their partners/former partners.
IRIS is based on the true story of a strong, hard working woman for who things are falling into place – she is heading for a promotion at work and her new boyfriend, Ben, has just moved in. She thinks her life is just getting started, but it is, in fact, the beginning of the end. The play goes on to show how a strong independent woman gets sucked into and wrapped tightly in a web of escalating violence, isolation and lies. Watching it unfold from my cosy seat, made me realise how the truth is ugly. Ugly for everyone, shocking for some, and painful for many.
You might be reading this thinking, why on earth do I want to go and watch a play that will anger or upset me? The truth is… For a couple of really good reasons.
1. For awareness. We all pretend not to see. We tell ourselves it’s none of our business when we hear it next door or witness it in a public space and the truth is… it is our business. In a society where everyone is constantly watched and connected, all our thoughts, routines and pictures posted where everyone can see, if we know it and we do nothing, the fingerprints of our silence are all over the bruises left on someone’s body and soul. And they are not only women. They could be anyone – men, women, children, young and old. Domestic violence doesn’t have a type and even the strongest can be rendered powerless. It could be you.
2. Because, on a much lighter note, the acting is really good, the play is well written and the theatre is an experience on itself. Take the tissues with you and be prepared to laugh, be angry and cry. This will take you all around the block as true and thought provoking theatre really should.
If you read a book, watch a film or play and it has no effect on you, it doesn’t make you think, laugh, cry or get angry… Those are hours of your life you will never get back. So today I dare you to break free from your comfort zone and watch something new that will really get your juices going.
The venue is uber cool, the play is really well written and beautifully performed and the cause it’s more than honourable. IRIS is on at the 3M Theatre until October 11th. Tickets are only £7. www.threeminutetheatre.co.uk/#!whats-on/c1go