DramaReviewSouth West

The Beauty Parade – Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff

Reviewer: Beth Steer

Writer & Co-Director: Kaite O’Reilly

Co-Director: Phillip Zarrilli

A snappy production at just over an hour, The Beauty Parade works hard throughout – bringing the stories of forgotten, invisible women, and the vital and dangerous roles they played in the Second World War, to life with zest and vigour.

A thought-provoking piece that is at as much creative as it is accessible,  The Beauty Parade combines visual language, music, and text to create a multi-layered performance that captivates the audience with a window into a hidden world of subterfuge and secrecy. Based on true stories – involving WW2 Codebreakers hastily training British female agents and dropping them behind enemy lines into occupied territory, this crackling piece brings the ordinary women who ‘fell between the cracks’ firmly into the light.

Three female artists – Anne-Marie Piazza, Sophie Stone, and Georgina White – take turns in the spotlight on stage, offering different perspectives on the training, the danger, the missions, and the dreams of three vastly different personalities, with one common goal: they’re done with keeping the home fire burning – and want to set Europe aflame.

The talent is palpable and the performance fluid and polished. The multi-layered production brings a myriad of elements together neatly and succinctly – from British Sign Language, to visual text, live instrumental to sharp vocal refrains. Kaite O’Reilly (Writer and Co-Director)’s 30 years of working with Deaf theatre practitioners shines through in this sleek, clever piece.

It’s powerful, moving, and, perhaps most of all, timely. There’s a sense of uprising, of recognition, and of injustice throughout –  the voices and stories of women, long downplayed and forgotten, who will be silent no more.

Runs until 14 March 2020 | Image: Jorge Lizalde

The Reviews Hub Score

Timely & thought-provoking

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The Reviews Hub - South West

The Southwest team is under the editorship of Holly Spanner. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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