For this season, the Hampstead upstairs has rearranged the space so the audience are sat round the stage. The obvious effect of this is that the performances are close and intimate.
The set is the sitting room of the house that Stevie Smith lived in with her aunt in Palmer’s Green. It’s the kind of set that I love. I find myself intrigued with because I become fascinated with the objects, wondering what they are, recognising some from relative’s houses, and wanting to open all the books.
This is a three hander between Zoe Wanamaker playing Stevie, Lynda Baron playing her ‘lion’ aunt and Chris Larkin, playing the man.
The play starts with Stevie Smith returning home to the house she shares with her aunt in Suburbia from her job in London. It becomes clear that during her administrative job, Stevie Smith writes her novels and poetry. The play gives an insight into Smith’s life and the times in which she wrote. Through the dialogue and excerpts from Smith’s poetry her life is revealed to us.
As much as I enjoyed this production, I felt that the play was a little too long, and could have benefitted from some cuts such as the repetition around Smith’s finance. However, I learnt a lot about Stevie Smith, and Zoe Wanamaker’s performance was excellent.