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The Nine-Day Queen | Baron's Court Theatre

If you’re looking for a little play that packs a whole lot of emotion, great acting, and important conversations, this might be one you need to get to. Written by Jen Tucker, The Nine-Day Queen follows two best friends, Rita and Lena. When an attack puts Lena in a coma, Rita sits by her side for nine long days. During this time, she hallucinates the ghost of Lady Jane Grey, and they spend nine days teaching each other how to be brave in a world where it can often feel futile for a woman to be. 

A play with as minimal staging and as intimate as you can get, you feel as though you are living these nine days alongside Rita (Maddie White), almost as if you might be a part of the hallucination she experiences. White does a phenomenal job on the stage, being the only character on-stage for the entirety of the show with little room to escape scrutiny. But every choice, movement and intonation are spot on, during monologues you almost felt as if you were the only one privy to the thoughts going through her head. 

With the relationship between Rita and Lena being the basis of this play, it’s hard not to feel slightly nostalgic for the relationships you had when you were younger. The dialogue between them is so reminiscent of conversations every teenage girl was bound to have with her best friend, and this just helps build the bond between the girls and the audience. Because of this, it becomes natural that the anger and hurt that Rita experiences can be felt so deeply within us as the audience – you understood what she was feeling because you’d, in some way shape or form, felt it yourself. The rage of the world not changing quick enough, the hurt that women could still be ‘punished’ for saying something as simple, yet powerful, as ‘no’, as well as the worry and fear of knowing it’s not going to change anytime soon. 

Despite the very serious subject matter this play discusses, it leans into humour in such a clever and uplifting way that doesn’t take away from the deep conversations that are happening throughout. The fourth wall is broken in parts and the audience are brought into conversations between Rita and Lady Jane Grey with a look or gesture from Rita, which just further makes you feel a part of the conversations happening on stage. 

What this play does extremely well, is discuss topics that would perhaps normally be skirted around in a way that doesn’t come off as preachy, or feeling like an opinion is being forced down your throat. It gently opens the conversations and leaves you with the notion that still in this day and age, not much has changed since the days of Lady Jane Grey when it comes to how women are made to feel, and on occasion treated, and what a sad notion that is. 

At the core of it, despite their strong friendship, this isn’t a play about Rita and Lena. It’s about Rita and her discovery of self, questioning life and death, and everything in between. It shows the strength and anger that women possess and how we must use that to help us move forward however we can. Despite Itchy Feet Theatre being a relatively new company, if this play is anything to go by, it’ll be very exciting to see what they come out with next. The Nine-Day Queen runs at Baron's Court Theatre until 19th May - for more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5*)

Gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography by Lottie Neal


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