Review by Stephanie Lee
The Regina Monologues is an interesting and unique step back into history. Each queen presents their own telling of a piece of their history and invites the audience to examine or re-examine their story.
The performance takes place in the Meat Market Stables, which has three separate but close together rooms that audiences can flick between to see their favourite queens from history deliver their own monologue. Each of the monologues puts its own spin on history with the common thread between them all being a modern exploration of feminism and power.
Although the proximity of the rooms creates a bit of sound bleeding, I thought that the echo of each actor’s voice throughout the space creates a livelier atmosphere. Also, the constant sight of historical queens wondering through each room helps to fill the void of having no set, as the scattering of royal figures nicely accents the space.
Bashford and Kumar’s costuming was one of the highlights of the night with each queen dressed to represent her culture and the time period that her monologue is set in. For example, Virgin Mary is re-imagined as a teen pregnancy and as such her costume is a catholic school uniform, while Persephone Queen of the underworld is dressed in a green traditional styled Greek tunic to reflect her role as goddess of spring.
The sound and lighting of the show is rather simple and consists mainly of lights dimming before and after each monologue to help the audience understand when the pieces started and ended. There were some technical glitches at times, which is understandable considering there was a single operator for three rooms. However, the night ran fairly smoothly and the flow from monologue to monologue was well managed across the rooms.
Due to the nature of the performance with the separate rooms I did not manage to see every monologue, meaning each audience member is provided a completely unique experience depending on how they plan their path.
My favourite queens of the night were Queen Himiko of Japan (Seon Williams), Queen Virgin Mary (Delaram Ahmadi), Mary Queen of Scots (Fiona Crombie) and Queen Njinga of Angola (serious meerkat).
In particular, Seon Williams as Queen Himiko is rather funny and compelling, fascinatingly exploring the historical Japanese queen through the form of a podcast commentary of the movie Tomb Raider’s portrayal of Himiko.
In contrast, Queen Njinga’s monologue is an open and honest conversational piece about Angola having to deal with the Portuguese trying to take over their country. serious meerkat’s delivery is earnest and compelling, highlighting the power of simple, effective storytelling.
As for accessibility, this performance is designed to watch seated in each room, so you are not required to stand for long periods of time or walk great distances, which makes it a very inclusive environment and a more enjoyable experience for all.
Although the writing is a little weak at times, overall, The Regina Monologues is an enlightening experience and an interesting modern twist on historical figures often forgotten about or not recognised in their own right.
If you want a thought provoking and history filled night, then grab your tickets to The Regina Monologues!
Image Credit: Brett Robson