This post was first published by The Croydon Citizen on 21/03/2017.
Croydonites Festival 2017 review: Letters to Windsor House, by Sh!t Theatre
The magnificent Croydon Council Chamber was the venue for Friday evening’s sell out performance of Letters to Windsor House by Sh!t Theatre. The truss, which we were later to help deconstruct, stretched the width of the chamber. The stage had a number of eco-friendly archive boxes, a two-seater sofa and on the sofa, two women singing along to ‘Alone’ by Heart. I grabbed a front row seat as I’m easily distracted.When I woke this morning, I felt like I’d just had a night out at Edinburgh Festival. But no… it was the Croydonites Festival of New Theatre. There was the excitement of the walk into town with Mrs Mac to see an unknown show. Where shall we get a quick bite to eat? Have we got time for a quick bite to eat? Can we get a drink?
Perhaps we more long-settled Croydonians don’t experience excessive mail from the previous occupiers of our homes, but when you live in Windsor House in Hackney and you’re uncertain of who truly owns your house, the trail of the property’s past and future are just a paper knife away. So what do you do with the letters that aren’t addressed to anyone who lives there? Return to sender? Recycle, bin, burn or just stuff them away? Louise and Becca wake at 7:00am to hard-core Romanian dance music and when the post arrives, it’s filed in the drawers below their Sh!t Theatre ‘awards shelf’.
Sh!t Theatre delivers a high tempo account of friendship, hardship, aspiration and exploration as the two women survey an ever-changing community both inside and outside their front door. With new properties in the area selling just shy of £1 million and people camping on barren land beneath the UKIP billboard, why are they receiving so much mail for others? And why do they write to each other?
Letters to Windsor House tells a hilarious yet gut-wrenching story of opening these letters and exploring their contents with spoken word and brilliant song. Through evidence of people in debt and excessive baby milk orders, they home in on previous tenant Rob Jecock. Using social media and popular internet search engines, they track down his whereabouts in genuine concern for his welfare – and to establish that he’s not an adult baby. And the truth is not what you might expect.
Comedy is mixed with the fragile nature of Becca and Louise’s personal relationship. Dressed as pillar boxes, they communicate with each other via the aperture, detailing what they love and hate about each other. The foundations of their shared home are built on the archives of previous tenants and roofed by their open exposure and written honesty towards each other. Hypothetical enquiries to the local authority bring the realisation that the ownership details are a sham. Their home is effectively destroyed.
Wonderfully honest and delivered by a real local, former New Addington resident and Gilbert Scott pupil Louise Mothersole, this show was both a sort of home coming and a warning to change your address details when you move house – or risk being exposed on a national theatre tour!