This review is from the Edinburgh Fringe 2016
Read Sh!t Theatre's guide to the London housing crisis
The London housing crisis is such an overwhelmingly awful phenomenon that you kind of have to laugh. That’s what performance duo Sh!t Theatre do in 'Letters to Windsor House', a delightfully chutzpah-heavy piece of docu-theatre in which the pair – Louise Mothersole and Becca Biscuit – put their lives in a grotty flatshare in gentrifying Manor House under the spotlight and emerge with a show that's a kind of twenty-first-century ‘WIthnail & I’.
The gobby performers and their presumably long-suffering housemate Ruth live in the titular block of council accommodation. The letters in question are the years’-worth of post for previous tenants that have accumulated in a chest of drawers in their hallway, which after some consultation with the strict wording of the law, Mothersole and Biscuit decided they could legally open. What they discovered is fascinating: demands for debt to former tenants who’ve now left the country; a string of increasingly suspicious post ‘to the resident’ that makes them wonder if this really is an ex council flat; some very odd mail to one Rob Jecock, who Sh!t Theatre become increasingly obsessive about tracking down.
Along the way the whiteface-wearing pair sing a lot of irony-heavy songs, and play us surreptitiously-filmed footage of Manor House: people smoking crack in phoneboxes, tents springing up on patches of derelict land, and a grimly hilarious look around a new luxury flat development that’s so utterly divorced from the reality of life faced by the average London renter that they find themselves having a surreal discussion about ‘kayak storage’.
‘Letters from Windsor House’ offers no solution to the housing crisis because clearly two poverty-stricken artists are not going to start an ambitious programme of house-building and rent control. Instead what it does in a funny, angry, absurdist way is find the romance in being young and skint and reckless in our clusterfuck of a capital.