The University of Nottingham’s very own New Theatre (NNT) have put on a wide range of shows over the last term. The Defamation ran from 4th-6th December. Impact‘s Amy Child viewed this production, and reviews.
Let me start by saying, straight off the bat, that Jen Tucker is an exceptionally talented writer. This is the second play I’ve seen by her, the first being We Need to Talk About Mary last year, and, yet again, I found myself blown away by her script. The Defamation convincingly and adeptly uses Shakespearean English throughout, and moreover, rhymes consistently from start to finish. (Yes, you read that right.) I can only imagine the effort it must have taken to achieve such a feat.
There were some brilliant performances in this show, too. I feel the need to particularly applaud Giulia Duggan as Lady Macbeth for her welcome touches of humour and sass, and Isabelle Kennedy-Grimes for a convincing and powerful performance as Charity. The lighting during her trial was very effective, and really made it seem like she was under the scrutiny of the spotlight. Set and sound also worked really well to create an immersive world onstage.
The plot itself seemed relatively repetitive
However, if I have one main issue with the play, it would be the lack of subtly. The feminist message was very much spelt out, with little subtext in the dialogue. Similarly, the plot itself seemed relatively repetitive, without much of a sense of forward momentum. I appreciate that they were stuck in purgatory, but even so.
Some of the complexities were lost on me
I also felt that some of We Need to Talk About Mary’s strong suits were the depth built into the characters, and the distinctive personalities which shone through. In The Defamation, it seemed as though much of this relied on the audience’s prior knowledge of these characters and their stories (being taken from various Shakespeare plays). It may be a fault of my own, but I was only closely familiar with Lady Macbeth, and had never heard of Hero nor Hermione. As a result, I think some of the complexities were lost on me, as I never fully understood what most of the women had done, or why they were considered ‘morally grey’.
However, this by no mean overrules how impressed I was by Jen’s writing, and the sheer difficulty of the issues she tackled. She continues to be a brilliantly promising writer and director, with tons of stylistic flair.
Featured image courtesy of Alex Watkin. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
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