Russian Dolls

This week I went to see Russian Dollsย ๐Ÿ‘ญ at the Kingโ€™s Head Theatreย ๐Ÿ‘‘๐Ÿ‘จ in Islington.

It was rather nice to have an excuse to go to Islington, I tend not to venture there that often but I do like it rather a lot.ย  It is definitely an area of London I still need to discover, I hardly know it at all.ย  One of my favourite things about living and working in London ๐ŸŽก, is discovering new places ๐Ÿ’ƒ.ย  I have always lived south of the river ๐Ÿšฃ โ€“ Battersea and Wandsworth, but have worked in Covent Garden ๐Ÿ’, Fitzrovia ๐ŸŽ“, Kentish Town ๐ŸŽถ and Chelsea ๐Ÿ‘ธ and I always love getting to know a new place.ย  The initial discovery of a new and exciting place for lunch ๐Ÿor coffee โ˜•๏ธ, and then getting to know the people who run the cafรฉ, once your favourites have been established.ย  Favourites have been Spud ๐Ÿฒin Covent Garden – gourmet baked potato for lunch (it has now closed, but don’t worry, there are otherย potato selling places), Attendant in Fitzrovia โ€“ a great bacon ๐Ÿท sandwich, Kaffeine for their banana bread ๐ŸŒ and coffee โ˜•๏ธ, Yumchaa for their brownies ๐Ÿฉ and green tea ๐Ÿต(a superb combination) both in Fitzrovia, Meat in Tufnell Park โ€“ great sandwiches ๐Ÿž and a bottle of wine ๐Ÿท if you need one for dinner that evening, and Artisan du Chocolat in Chelsea for a hot chocolate pick me up โ˜•๏ธ๐Ÿซ.ย  And of course Piccoloโ€™s on Sloane Street.ย  If you are ever at Sloane Square need anything they seem to have it, I have begged lemons ๐Ÿ‹๐Ÿ‹ from them on multiple occasions (donโ€™t ask) and theyโ€™ve even produced a chocolate cake ๐ŸŽ‚ short notice for a birthday.

So to Islington, where I met Nikki, and we went to watch Russian Dolls๐Ÿ‘ญ by Kate Lock, at the Kings Head Theatre ๐Ÿ‘‘ ๐Ÿ‘จ, which is through a door at the back of this rather nice little pub.

The last time I went to see a play in a small venue, a friend and I made the mistake of consuming a couple too many drinks ๐Ÿท๐Ÿท before we took our seats and we happened to be sitting on the wrong side of the stage.ย  Short play, no interval โ€“ and I have to say (although it was a very good performance) we spent the last 20 minutes desperately trying to decide if we could dash across the stage to the exit ๐Ÿ‘ฏ, in between scenes.ย  We didnโ€™t, but I was better prepared this time โ€“ not too many drinks beforehand.

I liked Russian Dolls ๐Ÿ‘ญ very much โ€“ it is the story of a relationship between Hilda ๐Ÿ‘ต, an elderly lady who has suddenly gone blind, and her accidental carer, the young and very mouthy Camellia ๐Ÿ‘ง(what a great name) – they initially meet when Camellia burgles Hilda.ย  The character of Hilda is based on a lady who lived locally in Islington โ€“ she had spent her entire life fostering children, and in the play unofficially takes Camellia under her wing.

It is a clash of personalities ๐Ÿ™…๐Ÿ™†๐Ÿ’, between two women of very different generations living in London.ย  Hilda lives alone, her husband has died and she never had any children.ย  Although she is blind she still carries on cooking ๐Ÿ, all sorts of homemade things โ€“ lemonade ๐Ÿถ, cakes ๐Ÿฐand toad in the hole ๐Ÿฒ.ย  Camellia is 17 and has just left a young offenders unit, and is one of a number of children who have all been removed from their mother – she now spends most of her time with her brotherโ€™s gang, who often treat her quite brutally ๐Ÿ™.ย  Both characters are people we perhaps push to the back of our minds too often โ€“ the homeless girl on the street, and the elderly lady living alone, with no company but her daily carer.

It is a really intriguing and moving interaction between two very strong characters, the lonely, but brave Hilda ๐Ÿ‘ต who dearly wants to help Camellia, and Camellia ๐Ÿ‘งwho is brash with a harsh survival instinct.ย  For Camellia, stealing from an old lady is just a way to ensure she gets her next meal โ€“ she has no one she can rely on, or who cares for her, except the rather strained relationship with her social worker.

The story is shocking in places, and you never know what might come next.ย ย  The performances are very very good, Mollie Lambert plays Camellia ๐Ÿ‘ง and Stephanie Fayerman ย Hilda ๐Ÿ‘ต, the way the characters play off each other is absolutely captivating.ย  This unlikely relationship between two very different members of our society works surprisingly well, they are able to share things, that the other may never have achieved on their own – Camellia learns to cook๐Ÿ, Hilda gets a guide dog ๐Ÿถ. ย And it also puts into perspective how much has changed between generations โ€“ they are two women, living in the same city with completely different values, priorities and ideas about life, and very often they just canโ€™t comprehend the others actions or thoughts.

If you are looking for something to do today or tomorrow, I definitely recommend going to see it – Russian Dolls, King’s Head Theatreย ๐Ÿ‘ญ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿ‘‘.

Alice xxx

Please let me know what you think ๐Ÿ˜€โœ๏ธ

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