THE STICKWIFE
Gate Theatre, London W11
Opened 29 April, 1991

Jessie fantasises in her Birmingham, Alabama, backyard about Hollywood stardom; gradually she realises that the KKK bomb which killed four black girls in a Baptist church was perpetrated by her husband and his buddies, and the play's main concerns click into gear.

Author Darrah Cloud shows a keen instinct for dramatic flashpoints, but having set up her situations (a nocturnal Klan attack on the wives camped out in the yard, for example), she tends to rely overmuch on the action carrying along her underlying themes; the spaces behind the lines aren't always as pregnant as she might like them to be. The right questions do get asked chiefly, how can people keep themselves shackled to others in the face of such atrocities? but they're left to the audience, not embedded in the play itself.

Written for City Limits magazine.

Copyright Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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