The Bogus Woman, Theatre by the Lake, Keswick

4.00

Theatre by the Lake's newly enlarged 100-seat traverse studio offers, for those in search of darker drama to fit the mood of the Lakes, something more substantial than the plays in its main house. Here, Martin McDonagh's savagely comic The Lonesome West and Pinter's enigmatic The Caretaker frame a production of Kay Adshead's provocative and painful The Bogus Woman.

As the African poet and journalist – the "bogus woman" – who seeks asylum in England, Krissi Bohn acts to vividly realised and blistering perfection. The Bogus Woman is a monologue but, as the nameless Young Woman, Bohn gives us sharply etched encounters with some 40 characters, each with accents suggestive of class and nationality and with attitudes ranging from patronising to racist.

Having escaped from a war zone after being gang-raped and seeing her family murdered, the Young Woman might have expected to be met with compassion. Not so. From the antagonism of the security guards in the grim detention centres around which she is shunted, to the denial of basic human rights from the authorities and the inefficiency and apparent callousness of the asylum system, the odds are against her – as they are against countless other detainees.

Adshead's fluid structure allows the Young Woman to flit between the present hell she inhabits and the past hell she fled, recounting terrible atrocities, weeks spent in a claustrophobic hiding hole, and the terror of touching down, with forged papers, in a foreign and hostile environment. That's Britain, by the way.

Sophia Lovell Smith's set has to be flexible, allowing for the two other studio plays: the harsh metallic and tiled floor and ceiling (through which the Young Woman can sometimes see a strip of grey English sky) works well both as a cell and, later, a decrepit flat. Up and down Bohn paces, delivering her bleakly expressive lines in a way that is as emotionally intimate and compellingly intricate as a piece of solo chamber music.

Subtly directed by Zoe Waterman, The Bogus Woman might upset those of a delicate disposition, but it is essential watching for its cutting indictment of the way in which we, as a society, fail those who rely on us for fairness, freedom and compassion.

To 5 November (01768 774411)

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Wonder.land Musical by Damon Albarn

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment

Film review

Arts and Entertainment
Innocent victim: Oli, a 13-year-old from Cornwall, featured in ‘Kids in Crisis?’
TV review
News
Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment

 

film review
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

    Greece referendum

    Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
    Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

    7/7 bombings anniversary

    Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
    Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

    Versace haute couture review

    Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
    No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

    No hope and no jobs in Gaza

    So the young risk their lives and run for it
    Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

    Fashion apps

    Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
    Compton Cricket Club

    Compton Cricket Club

    Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
    London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

    Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

    'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

    It helps a winner keep on winning
    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate