What happens behind closed doors? How much do you really know about your neighbours? Is that knowledge you’re better left without? The Field Street Monologues consists of six monologues exploring exactly those things. We meet a young man embarking on his first dating in the dark experience, a clown recounting the lifelong escalation of hatred for his mother, a businessman mourning the loss of a very close friend. Just along the road there is a theatre costumier gossiping about the cast of divas backstage, a naive bachelor finding love on the internet and a wife with murder – and whelks – in mind. We peek behind each door on a Black Country street and delve into a neighbourhood full of unique, intriguing stories.
As a form, monologues can sometimes prove difficult to adjust to, but each piece was introduced and tied together with short, neat rhymes that gently guided you through the street, adding humour and ensuring cohesion, like a thread holding together a tapestry. Jules Garvey-Welch, shortlisted for the Kenneth Brannagh Drama Award, has woven a rich tapestry indeed with The Field Street Monologues with a charming, slightly cheeky wit and regular dips into the darker corners of the human pysche. There were plenty of laughs from the audience and a few quiet gasps when the more disturbing events unfolded.
As the theatre is stashed away above Bar Broadway, the stage was fairly restricted in its size, and there was simply a kitchen table and chairs and an ironing board to set up the six different homes. Props were used economically and, as such, the most was made of the space. Just simple touches were needed to move your imagination along to the next house; picking up a mixing bowl took you to Geraldine’s kitchen, a sewing bag took you backstage at the theatre with Maud. Scene changes were quick, delivery was tight, and every cast member confidently embodied their roles and were captivating from the start. Naturally, some monologues were stronger than others, some felt more whole and a clear story was developed, whereas others had a more meandering, stream of consciousness feel and ended before you wanted them to.
The Field Street Monologues was a quirky, dark, amusing evening of monologues boasting quality writing and strong performances, and I found it to be an especially inspiring evening as a playwright.
Originally published on Broadway Baby.