Available until: Final performance on Saturday 20th February, 7.30pm
Content warning: None is officially given so I won’t give too much away, but the title is relevant and the play description includes the phrase ‘cycles of abuse’.
It’s incredibly sexist of me, but when I saw the title of the play and saw it was about two friends, I immediately assumed it was two boys. When I saw it was actually two girls, I was quite surprised… but also happy. Not so happy with my sexism, but very happy with the play. All I’d done was read the title and the first line of the synopsis and already the play was challenging my expectations. This was a very promising beginning – and Bored of Knives lived up to expectations.
There are two women in this play. They were best friends at school and had their own private den which was very important to both of them. But then something happened and one of the girls had to leave school. There was no further contact between them for ten years. Until Woman 1, sitting happily in the den she still loves, is surprised by an intruder. An intruder whom she doesn’t recognise until she introduces herself as Woman 2. Her former best friend.
Immediately, the play goes into the most fascinating onstage struggle. Woman 1 is happy and welcoming and wants to go back to the way things were. Woman 2 believes that is impossible. Too much has changed. Woman 1 doesn’t really want to talk about it. Woman 2 most definitely does… but the conversation isn’t easy for her either. There’s so much she doesn’t understand. So much she thinks she does understand.
The conversation goes back and forth. Sometimes, one of the women seems to have got what she wanted. Sometimes, the other woman seems to be the one in the ascendancy. Sometimes, that old friendship between them seems to have come back. But the whole situation is a web of secrets and lies and there’s so much to be uncovered before the play comes to an end.
The play was written by the two actors who feature in the play, Kitty Fox Davies and Megan Louise Wilson. They’ve found a great idea for a play which is nothing like I’ve ever seen before (and while I’m not claiming to be brilliant at understanding them all, I think it’s fair to say I’ve seen a lot of plays) and created two incredibly interesting characters. Both of the characters are under strain, but they express it in completely different ways. Kitty’s Woman 1 is sweet, bubbly, smiley and desperately wants happiness and fun. Megan’s Woman 2 is sharp, angry and really wants answers, right now. They have an incredible dynamic and are fascinating to watch.
Sophia Charap has designed a beautiful den for them. It’s huge and it looks as though so much care has gone into designing it. It’s exactly the sort of place two kids would really love. Even two older kids would love the privacy of it. It’s true that some elements of it are… worrying, but I’m twenty-one and I admit it, I want to play there! I think it would a lot of fun. As long as the women weren’t having one of their… conversations in there. If they were, I think I’d prefer to be somewhere else!
Director Tom Ryder uses the whole of the space and the camera work is set up so it feels like we’re almost sitting in the middle of it, with the action happening around us. Woman 1 is given a lot more freedom of movement, using more of the space and moving more quickly, often standing up and sitting down. Woman 2 is much more contained in terms of her movement. So many little things that tell you so much about the characters.
I’ve left this very late to review again (there’s no such thing as too many plays, but there’s also no such thing as unlimited time in which to watch them) so there’s only one performance remaining, but if you’re okay with the content, this play is highly recommended. A lot of playwrights write great plays, but it’s not so easy to come up with something completely new. Kitty Fox Davies and Megan Louise Wilson have done it.