Kate Stanley Brennan's new solo work sneers through a slut-shaming world.
My review of Walk for Me by Kate Stanley Brennan coming up just as soon as I snort meth ...
Stirred awake and reaching for a rollie, Mary Jane is struggling to remember the night before. This recollection actually takes us back years, to a young woman’s first steps on a dance-floor. Kate Stanley Brennan’s new solo work is nothing if comprehensive.
Lit up in neon pink clubwear, Mary Jane genially takes us through the hormone-scented halls of the teenage discos. But every now and again, with rave-buns tied atop her head, she sneers through songs as a person self-possessed. Director Sarah Brennan’s production is well aware of the tension between both modes of storytelling, though one is clearly more enticing than the other.
In a play written in musically-suggestive rhyme, it’s odd for nostalgic anthems to leave as soon as they arrive. Muting sonic devices is a heedful measure for the plot’s more traumatising moments - the reared head of a horrendous rape culture - but they often don’t feel harnessed, considering the live presence of Handsome Paddy and his turntable tech.
The soundtrack juts as the plot meanders (a summer bar-tending in England, despite its dangers, doesn’t say anything new) but great rhythm is found finally, when Mary Jane discovers New York’s underground club scene. It’s hard to shake off the feel-good beats in a coming-of-age story that owes as much to Bret Easton Ellis as it does to Emmet Kirwan. Stanley Brennan’s resilient play will trudge through a slut-shaming world, finding solace at last, on an Edenic dance-floor.
What did everybody else think?