Arts > Theatre review: Ivy

Posted on December 9, 2016

Image by Nick Rutter

Image by Nick Rutter

Monique Odoom-Simpson reviews the latest play by North London playwright Helena Thompson
On a cold winter’s night, the last thing anyone wants to do is leave the warm comforts of their home and Planet Earth II to venture outside. Yet venture I did, into the cold blistering night – and it was absolutely worth it.

Ivy is set in the basement of a secret location with all sorts of nooks and crannies. It would be the perfect setting for a horror movie. A fitting tone for what transpires…

The play is about a vulnerable old woman who refuses to leave her squat when it is about to be torn down by housing developers. A local bad girl takes advantage of her by attempting to rob her. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one intrigued by the old woman’s trippy plants, but to focus on that would be a disservice to the writing’s depth and scope.

Actresses Leda Hodgson and Charlotte Salkind did a fantastic job, which must have been difficult considering they had the audience inhabiting their space. Even if we didn’t move out of their way quickly enough, they never missed a beat.

Ivy is a surreal and disorientating play that makes one wonder if those plants in the basement really can make you hallucinate. It somehow reconciles the supernatural with inner city youth culture, drugs, mental health; and with all the vulnerable, forgotten people. Those we brush off as a drain or a menace to society have a story too, and it’s spooky.

It’s hard to describe the play without giving it away. All I can say is, expect the unexpected. Everything you thought this play would be about disappears as you step into the basement. You’ll laugh, you’ll gasp, you’ll get angry, and more… enjoy the ride.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5.

Ivy happens in a secret location until December 18th

Monique Odoom-Simpson
Monique Odoom-Simpson is a visual stylist and an actress. She is currently studying at Identity school of acting and busy writing her own work. Her dream is to play a Bond villain and star in a Japanese drama.

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