A few days before Christmas I headed to the Royal Court to see Linda. The reason I saw this show was mainly due to the fact that my extremely talented friend Karla Crome was on it. But regardless of this, I am so pleased I saw it. Originally the lead role of Linda was to be played by Kim Cattrall. Just a few days before previews, Kim Cattrall had to drop out and it was announced that Noma Dumezweni would be replacing her. To be honest after seeing the show, I couldn’t imagine Kim Cattrall playing Linda. Noma was outstanding. I can’t put it any other way. She was truly mesmerising. Alongside the prefect direction by Michael Longhurst and the rest of the brilliant cast – in particular of course Karla, it made a phenomenal show.
As I took my seat in the auditorium I was firstly amazed by the visual spectacular of the set, designed by Es Devlin. The stark white construction was over two floors, consisting of Linda’s kitchen and children’s bedroom, her office and her bosses office. Swan Beauty, the company Linda worked for, had advertisements projected on to the walls prior to the start of the show. Plus, with it’s slow revolve you were sure not to miss a thing!
The play, brilliantly written by Penelope Skinner, looks at the ageing of women. Trying to stay relevant, modern and more importantly visible. Linda talks about how women of a certain age (50+) risk becoming invisible. But, what is interesting is the contrast of Linda trying to stay visible and her older daughter Alice (Karla Crome) who is trying to remain invisible, following online shaming from an ex-boyfriend, which spiralled so far out of control she had to move school 3 times and the paranoia of the ever-present male gaze!
Karla is wonderful as Linda’s troubled daughter, as is Imogen Byron as Linda’s youngest. Amy the younger model, who’s trying to kick Linda out and take over her role at Swan Beauty is marvellously played by Amy Beth Hayes. Then you have Linda’s husband (Dominic Mafham), who’s going through a mid-life crisis, sleeping with, again a younger model, Stevie (Merriel Plummer). And lastly, Linda’s big boss Dave (Ian Redford) and assistant Luke (Jaz Deol) complete this wonderful cast. Working so perfectly together, creating 2hrs and 40mins of pure entertainment.
I know you are probably thinking this is a slightly biased review, but it is honest. Whether Karla was in it or not I would have still loved it and become Noma Dumezweni #1 Fan!!
Linda at The Royal Court is running from 25th November – 9th January. Book your tickets at The Royal Court
Photo Credits: All photographs by Johan Persson