Bag Lady (tour – Salford)

”Bag Lady” explores the representation of a homeless black lady; rarely seen on stage and superbly done here for one night at the Lowry.

Hidden Gems
Hidden Gems
© Bag Lady

Walking into the Lowry Studio we are faced with a stage stripped bare except for the cluttering of a few bags, an old shopping trolley and a number of objects strewn about the performance space.

An urban soundtrack featuring Lauryn Hill is played loudly until Eve, our Bag Lady shuffles onto the stage.

Flo Wilson plays Eve and gives a striking performance- her eyes darting about as she jumps from subject to subject, stopping occasionally to focus on the audience, a passerby on the street or the voices that she hears in her head.

The pace of her performance is varied and skilled, managing to command the audiences attention for the hour duration, moving swiftly from softly singing a gospel song to exploding with anger when mentioning her son. Flo Wilson shows us a character who is bold but also incredibly fragile.

The play raises a number of themes, on the surface it is a discussion about homelessness, mental health and domestic violence. On a deeper level, it offers us more of a cultural commentary on what it means to be marginalised in society and judged according to your appearance.

As a black homeless woman who appears to suffer with mental health issues Eve is overlooked in her current society and she is fighting a relentless battle to get her voice heard, "their piercing blue eyes, penetrate your skin and measure your worth by the depth of your melanin."

The writer, Marcia Layne uses beautiful, fearless and vivid imagery throughout the play – she tackles strong emotive issues such as relationships and family, as well as taking on lighter subjects such as hair and appearance. The script has plenty of humorous moments too, many of the audience laughing and nodding along as something which they could relate to.

Bag Lady leaves us with plenty to mull over by the end – it is an insightful play which tries to show us the world through the eyes of a homeless black woman, a character which we do not often see depicted on the British stage.

Bag Lady's next stop of the tour is the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry on 28 February.