See it if you're a Maxine Peake fan.
Don't see it if you think that a long play that overwhelms you with words (but does nothing to back them up) may not be a good choice for you. Read more
See it if You want huge bold plays about the (mis)treatment of women
Don't see it if You think listening to 12 ish women chat for a few hours is not for you!
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The play is relentlessly interesting, but for me it’s the dependence on melodramatic reveals to advance the plot that ultimately sinks ‘The Welkin’ a bit...there’s a magnificence in its muddle.'
There is something mechanical in the way Kirkwood works in references to unwise steaming of the female anatomy, or the endless rivalry of midwives and doctors … I just loved the sheer, gutsy audacity of it all.
It is, above all, a cerebral play that does not require us to walk in these women’s shoes nor empathise with them...This makes it arduous and even slightly sterile to watch at times but also profoundly admirable.'
Lucy Kirkwood’s play... has the makings of a taut psychological study. Yet inflated to three hours, the piece sprawls endlessly and drifts towards a melodramatic conclusion.'
Some plays are easier to admire than to actually enjoy...it's a play of fierce ambition but muddled execution...And yet I was also constantly compelled, at least, by the superb ensemble cast.'
The life of the play lies in the vividness of the portrait it paints...it is a brilliant, brave, bold and intelligent three hours in the theatre...often very funny yet at the close, profoundly moving.'
While the first half is beautifully calibrated, tight as a high wire, things slacken a bit in the second half...this audacious play’s strength lies in the richly textured picture it paints of these women and their lives...'
Maxine Peake struggles to make the voice of reason heard in feminist history play... I really wanted to love this show, but the muddy production makes that very hard labour.'