Review: The Red Queen and Other Monsters at Hope Mill Theatre ‘raises important questions about gender and society’

"The Red Queen and Other Monsters," a captivating theatre production penned by Maz Hedgehog and Faye Draper, weaves a tapestry of thought-provoking questions that keep the audience guessing.

The show revolves around a group of women who narrate stories of remarkable female characters from literature, offering unique perspectives and shedding light on their motivations.

Themes of patriarchy and societal expectations for women take centre stage, providing an enlightening experience.

For someone not well-versed in literature, I must admit the storyline initially perplexed me, and it was only after the intermission that I began to grasp its depth.

The identities of the characters portrayed by the actresses remained elusive to me, though avid literature enthusiasts may find this aspect more enjoyable and relatable.

Nevertheless, I found myself engrossed in the impeccable acting and mesmerising dialogues.

The performers delivered the lines with such authenticity that every word resonated profoundly.

One particular standout moment was when Emelia Coles portrayed Juliet and Faye Draper took on the role of Lady Capulet.

Their rendition of the scene where Juliet learns of her impending marriage to Paris brought an innovative perspective, evoking raw emotions akin to a genuine mother-daughter dispute.

The play delves into the historical context of young women being wed at tender ages to much older men, shedding light on the antiquated attitudes towards women in society.

Faye Draper’s portrayal of Lady Capulet was an absolute highlight.

The character’s untold story in the original play found a voice in this production, evoking sympathy for her predicament and raising questions about the pressures she faced.

Draper’s performance was powerful and moving, eliciting genuine emotion from the audience in all the right moments.

While the overall production was impeccable, one area that required improvement was the sound design.

During intense scenes, the music played seamlessly, complementing the actors’ actions. However, the transitions and fades after such moments felt amateurish, lacking the polish that the rest of the show exuded.

In conclusion, “The Red Queen and Other Monsters” delivers a beautifully crafted narrative celebrating the strength and resilience of women whose voices have often been overlooked throughout literary history.

The play raises pertinent questions about gender dynamics and societal norms, leaving a lasting impact on the audience.

Despite some minor sound issues, the stellar acting and profound storytelling make this show an absolute must-see, igniting a desire to explore and appreciate the often unsung heroines of literature.

The Red Queen and Other Monsters runs from 17th July 202323rd July 2023 at the Hope Mill Theatre. 

You can get your tickets to this play by clicking here.


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