Letters to Windsor House is the latest production from the delightfully named Sh!t Theatre Company, the comedic combination of Louise Mothersole and Rebecca Biscuit. Both experienced performers, this particular concoction tells of their experiences in the notorious London housing market, largely through an investigation of previous tenants’ post, delivered to them with no forwarding address, and the attempts they make to connect with the stories of these enigmatic predecessors. In doing so, they employ their exceptional musical and physical devising skills to explore themes of friendship, community, and the problem of human connection in a fast paced London suburb, interspersed with tongue in cheek political satire that feels both relevant and heartfelt.
While its individual flair makes it difficult to categorise, whatever formula they have created has clearly been honed to a fine art, and the production feels slick and well balanced. Individual stories are told with a pleasingly aesthetic structure, referring back and forth to tie the loose ends together into a satisfying whole. Included among these are admirably candid accounts of the performers own lives, and are interspersed with a plethora of meta-theatrical sketches, original and quirky songs, and wry statements on the conflict between a seller’s presentation of a location, and its reality.
If I’m being picky, I would like to see a little more of that reality – this play very much focuses on the individual would-be recipients of the letters, marveling at their diversity, and charting the pair’s adventures in finding out more about them – charming in its own way, and often fascinating, but it unfortunately means that a lot of what the production is ostensibly about – the housing situation in London, the social and political background thereof, and what it might mean on a more general level – is sadly relegated to the occasional witty observation, but not dealt with in any depth; the moments of greatest pathos are personal stories of the girls’ own relationship, rather than any sweeping statement on the deplorable housing situation that they, and so many others, find themselves in. Fortunately, this is largely because the girls are too busy having fun and being thoroughly entertaining, but one gets the impression that it would hardly be beyond this duo to do both, and perhaps we shall see more balance in this area in future productions from this excellent company.
At its heart, however, there is simply a nobility of spirit in these two women, a triumphant humanity that exemplifies our capacity for creativity and joy in the most barren of circumstances. While this critic may prefer this or that from the production, it is this integrity to speak with their own voice, to tell their own story, that seems to be the keystone of Sh!t Theatre – and good luck to them. One gets the impression that these girls will make the show they want to, and, indeed, what a show it is. If you’re looking for an evening of truth, laughter, and simple human connection, I do recommend you go. This company really is the sh!t. 4/5
Review written by Alex Potts.
Letters to Windsor House is currently showing at the Wardrobe Theatre until Saturday 25th March. For more information on the production, visit here…