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Misfits review: A triumph in adaptability as cast deliver stellar performance in play streamed live from Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch

PUBLISHED: 17:30 18 November 2020

Thomas Coombes, Anne Odeke, Mona Goodwin and Gemma Salter each put in a stellar performance in Misfits, the play about Essex life currently being live streamed by the Queen's Theatre Hornchurch. Picture: Zbigniew Kotkiewicz

Thomas Coombes, Anne Odeke, Mona Goodwin and Gemma Salter each put in a stellar performance in Misfits, the play about Essex life currently being live streamed by the Queen's Theatre Hornchurch. Picture: Zbigniew Kotkiewicz

Zbigniew Kotkiewicz

The cast of Misfits triumphed through circumstance to deliver a stellar live-streamed performance of the latest play by Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch.

With the latest restrictions halting all live theatre, the cast of four — Thomas Coombes, Anne Odeke, Mona Goodwin and Gemma Salter — managed to create an intimate experience despite performing to an empty auditorium.

Each actor followed a different narrative, with all four characters from different parts of Essex.

The play opens with Salter’s character, Daisy, who is about to give birth after abandoning her dream of ‘going to the loo and the baby falling out’.

Odeke plays both Joanna and Alice; Joanna’s journey is set in 1908 as she seeks to be the first black woman to compete in a beauty pageant, with Alice set in the present day.

Goodwin’s Fiza keeps putting off confirming her attendance at a high school reunion after going through a bad break-up.

Coombes’ Tag (Richard) reflects nostalgically on the time spent with his ‘lie down in front of traffic for me’ mates, before he left Essex to study in Manchester.

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Though none of the stories directly intersect, similar themes of insecurity, existential worry and injustice flow through each.

Daisy, Fiza and Tag are particularly suffering from an identity crisis; Daisy is about to be a single mother, Fiza is struggling with being single at 37, and Tag is overcome by resentment for his new life up north.

All three cope with this feeling by reliving the good old days, with each actor alternating brilliantly between the happinesss felt at revisiting their youth and the sadness brought on by life in the present day.

Racial injustice is the focal point of Joanna’s story, who in one scene calls out the practice of having to sit near to the back of her church because of the colour of her skin.

She poses a question that has arguably never really gone away in the time since 1908: ‘Why is social status everything?’

This is one of a number of examples of inequality brilliantly captured by Odeke, who also switches to Alice, a schoolgirl with an axe to grind because of the lack of Black History lessons taught in Essex.

Racism is not the only subject to be frankly addressed by Misfits; the material looks serious subjects such as male suicide, depression and toxic relationships square in the eye, exploring each with poignant nuance.

Live-streamed performances of this play will continue until November 22.

To purchase tickets, visit this link.


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