REVIEW: ★★★★ Call Me Vicky, Pleasance Theatre

REVIEW: ★★★★ Call Me Vicky, Pleasance Theatre

We are transported to the 80’s. Mixtapes are dope, we are buying boom boxes and struggling to call Vicky Vicky, not Martin. Beautifully written, directed and acted, Call Me Vicky reminds us how far we’ve come yet how much further we still need to go regarding rights and acceptance with the transgender community.

The play opens in the heart of Vickys’ world. Living with her Mum, hanging out with her oldest friend Debbie, working alongside the lovely Gabby at The Golden Girl drag club for the fabulous Pearl. We delve into relatable moments with them. That one drink too many; first date nerves; Mums’ home cooking.

These moments of complete empathy, the sense of family and strength of characters carries both Vicky and the audience through her journey. We watch as those around her rally by her side and grow in acceptance as Vicky overcomes hurdles to come into her own as the women she is. We laugh, cheer, cry and sing along. There are dark undertones touched on which, while sombre and humbling, might leave you thinking that this is a downhearted play. The opposite is true.

It’s rare to see depictions of working-class lives or council estates on stage. Call Me Vicky captures the love, heart and beauty that exists in this community, found in moments as simple as watching the telly. But it also conveys the hostility and danger that existed – and still does – towards those who appear different. We are constantly reminded of the violence arises from ignorance throughout the play. Particularly in an exceptionally haunting monologue from Matt Greenwood’s Vicky.

The whole cast is magnificent, but you have to hand it to Matt Greenwood for perfectly capturing Vicky’s kindness, buoyancy and inner, silent strength.

It’s highly advisable to sit in the seats facing the stage. Although the stage is visible from all seating angles, some moments are slightly lost and there is an incredible monologue from Wendi Peters’ delightful Sylvie that is a shame to miss seeing delivered.

Beautiful, poignant and harrowing, we remember that it is based on a true story. Call Me Vicky stays with you afterwards, reminding us that a tolerant society is something we all have to fight for, everyday.

 

Ashanti Wheeler-Artwell

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