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How do you escape the same four walls, when they're all you have to look at for the next 20 years? Alice Birch’s two hander play ‘Little on the Inside’ – which was performed at the Almeida Festival last year – has the answer: with your imagination.
Birch’s script unfolds carefully and imperceptibly. It’s not clear at the beginning exactly what the relationship between the two women on stage is or where they are. From their upbeat banter we understand that they care for each other and that they are playing a remembering game. They reenact the moment they met, the moment they first talked and other moments from their time together, it’s a way of escaping the reality of being locked up together in prison.
The script is poetic, intense, clever and subtle. Occasionally it gets a little bogged down in repetition, but Birch manages to keep the intensity up enough that we are engrossed by the tumultuous, often unhappy world of these two women.
Estella Daniels and Sandra Reid give two rich, believable, heartwrenching performances. Lucy Morrison’s direction keeps us focused just on these two extraordinary performers, as their energy bounces off each other.
This is a hard work to stomach, but a beautiful one that shows us love in the darkest of places.
By Daisy Bowie-Sell