Review by Karen Barry
On Saturday 11th February, I took my ten-year-old daughter to see Period Drama at Front Room, the new (and utterly brilliant) theatre venue in Weston-super-Mare. Period Drama does exactly what it says on the tin; a show about periods and all things menstruation related, brought to you by local theatre company Atomic Rhubarb. The show is aimed at young people and their families and aims to break down the stigma associated with periods in a fun, entertaining show for anybody and everybody. You might assume that this show is predominantly going to be something to take your female children to, but as the company so rightfully point out, everyone on the planet will either menstruate or know somebody that has, so why shouldn’t this be a show for everyone to learn something from?
We had seen the show back in its development stage in the summer, and it was great to see a more polished version which had not lost any of the sparkle and intelligence we saw first time round. Joe, Clare and Coral are excellent at keeping the pace of the show bouncing along, giving loads of useful information but without ever seeming preachy. There is no getting away from it; it is a difficult subject matter to sell to some people, but we absolutely loved this show. I’ve always been really open about periods with my kids so there was nothing here that was a shock to my youngest, but the brilliant thing about it was she was able to ask me lots of questions afterwards and talk a little bit about her feelings because the show encouraged and supported the idea that periods shouldn’t be a taboo subject. The best part of the lot though? As well as opening a lovely and important dialogue between me and my daughter, the show was really funny. The company treat the subject matter with respect and really do want to educate people, but they also don’t take themselves too seriously. The subject matter could easily tip into something that feels a little too ‘worthy’, but it points to the skill of the performers that they manage to hold it all together so well that you walk away feeling like you have had a good time and been entertained as well as educated. In terms of the educational aspect, it is clear that the company did their research well as part of the Arts Council England funded research and development phase. Have a look at the excellent resources on the Atomic Rhubarb website, some really great and useful stuff to be discovered! https://www.atomicrhubarbtheatre.com/general-5
I am so thrilled we now have a dedicated fringe theatre and performing arts hub in Weston, this is a quality venue that is already showing a great calibre of shows that support local talent as well as bring in more established performers and shows from further afield. Based in the old Pizza Express building in the old Dolphin Square complex, I highly recommend you keep your eyes on them and get down there to see a show and support this wonderful venue. Weston has become a vibrant and creative town with a thriving creative community in the last few years and this place is the icing on the cake. We can’t wait to see what comes next, both from the venue and Atomic Rhubarb. Thanks for a cracking afternoon, from both of us. (Ps. Keep in the ping pong ball bit at the beginning Rhubarbs, it got the giggles going from the get-go!)