Five Reasons to See … London Wall

London Wall transfers from the Finborough Theatre to the St James in Victoria, where it opens tonight (10 May). Here, producer Graham Cowley from Out of Joint gives us five good reasons to go…

It’s a terrific play, full of laughs and unexpected pathos. “Plucked from obscurity and lavished with care, John van Druten’s skilful office drama may not have been seen in London for 80 years, but it couldn’t have hoped for a better homecoming than this. It’s a smart indictment of the meagre circumference of a woman’s life as part of the urban workforce of the ’30s, wrapped around a heartfelt romantic drama.” (Time Out)

The acting and production have been acclaimed. “This is a wonderfully slick production performed by a very strong ensemble. The pace of Tricia Thorns‘ direction reflects the urgency of the women’s call to matrimony and the constant dilemmas they are having to face. Even the scene changes capture the routine nature of their current lives, each piece of paper and rubber stamp slotting into a new home as Alex Marker’s masterful set transforms into different rooms of the lawyers’ offices.” (Whatsonstage.com)

It’s the battle of the sexes seen from the women’s viewpoint. “The most engaging aspect is that the focus is on the women of the office, surviving in a man’s profession” (Whatsonstage.com)
“Sex curdles the air like thunder… Here’s the ancestor of modern working life: paperwork, comradeship, rivalry, sexual tension. A rueful love letter to our brave grandmothers.” (The Times)

It’s startling how little has changed. “Set in the 1930s, the extraordinary thing is that 80 years on, notwithstanding bursts of feminism, the Pill and loosening of social corsets in all directions, much of the discussion between its workers could still be transplanted to the present day. Lowly paid employees (more often than not female) still scurry, obeying a ‘lord and master’ in fear of losing their jobs. Talk over lunch and tea breaks is still of who is going out with whom, who may be near to getting their man to the altar, and who has just been jilted. It could be Mad Men but 20 years earlier. (Arts Desk)

The St James Theatre is a real find. Brand new (opened last September), the St James has a great view from every seat, has a lovely bar and restaurant and a charming and welcoming staff.

London Wall runs until 1 June 2013