REVIEW: “i will still be whole “(when you rip me in half)

Tiptoe down the concrete slipway off Southwork Street; loiter outside the forbidding wooden frontage. Knock knock, the doors open… and you step into party time! The Bunker Theatre is bright, its loud, its packed and its friendly.

This Theatre (previously an underground car park) opened almost three and a half years ago, and its ethic “To give ambitious artists a home in which to share their work with adventurous audiences” is exemplary. It’s so sad, therefore, to hear that it will be closing in March 2020 when its lease runs out.

Ava Wong’s debut play “i will still be whole (when you rip me in half)” explores the relationship between daughter EJ (Aoife Hinds) and her mother Joy (Tuyen Do) who abandoned her 22 years previously. It plays out as a series of intertwining monologues that reveal the choices both women have made. EJ; Anxious and uncertain about her sexual attraction to women. Joy; who loves running and erasing all traces of her Chinese identity.

The potential of the writing is crystal clear; the dialogue between the two characters is authentic and moving, poetic in places, and effective in revealing their very different characters.

Visually the production was rather lacking in drama, the staging was dull and rather inert. I found myself closing my eyes and just listening as the play moved towards the meeting between mother and daughter.

Perhaps staging it as a radio play might fulfill its potential?

The programming of The Bunkers final few months, will focus on collaborations with Women and LGBTQ Artists.

I recommend a visit whilst you still can!

Bunker Theatre SE1 // 0207 234048 // 13-23rdNov

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