THEATRE / Shoot the Women First, BAC, London SW11

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The Independent Culture
One does not change the world by shooting it, one destroys it,' wrote Ulrike Meinhof, darling of the chic left, in 1961. Ten years later she was a member of the terrorist group the Red Army Faction and the most wanted woman in Germany. Why did she change? You won't find the answers in Foursight Theatre's drama, which takes its title from the command given to police when confronting terrorists (on the basis that men are more likely to hesitate, whereas women will kill). Focusing on the relationship between Meinhof and her friend and comrade Gudrun Ensslin, the piece hints at the social, cultural and political forces that shaped the two women (German politics and the judiciary in the 1960s were dominated by ex-Nazis) but prefers to concentrate on the intense, often bitter, relationship between the two women: their talk is of revolution but the subtext is all of personal animosity and pain. Too often like Neighbours with guns, the play seems intent on denying that the personal is political and proving that the political is merely personal. There are some interesting insights on the traditionally held view of women as nurturers (both Ulrike and Gudrun were mothers) but ineffectual miming to contemporary pop songs, melodramatic dialogue and, in one instance, an over-emphatic performance ensure that the women remain as 'unnatural' as they were portrayed in the popular tabloid myths.

Ends tomorrow (071-223 2223)

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