Joanne, Soho Theatre, London, review: Tanya Moodie is terrific in this powerful collaboration

Moodie is as big-heartedly there as Joanne herself seems to be defined by elusiveness and absence

Paul Taylor
Wednesday 21 October 2015 15:31
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Tanya Moodie performs with terrific generosity, wit and presence
Tanya Moodie performs with terrific generosity, wit and presence

We never directly encounter Joanne, a vulnerable young woman who has just been released from prison with no friend to greet her at the gates, no home to go to, and no one to oversee her medication. We are, however, addressed by four female characters who come into contact with her during a crucial 24-hour period and a teacher who remembers the day when her troubles were first graphically exposed on a school trip.

The excellent Clean Break company is dedicated to helping to improve the lives of women who have fallen foul of the justice system. Here, they have created a powerful evening in which these various figures, created by five different dramatists (including Deborah Bruce and Theresa Ikoko') are performed with a terrific imaginative generosity, wit and presence by Tanya Moodie who is as big-heartedly there as Joanne herself seems to be defined by elusiveness and absence. We meet, among others, a care worker making a painfully jaunty speech at the party to mark her redundacy and a gabbily mordant MBA forced to waster her talents as service and operations manager at St Bart's hostel and with a grandchild-hungry Nigerian mother who thinks that girl fetuses make a pregnant woman ugly. Recommended.

To October 31; 020 7478 0100

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