Jo Bain Presents

Gillian English (CAN)

She Wolf

Venue, Date & Time

Factory Theatre

Sat 12th May 2018 - 7:00 pm

Sun 13th May 2018 - 6:00 pm

Show Duration


Ticket Price Range

$20.00 - $25.00

Recommended For

Ages 15+
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"Shakespeare how it should be performed" - Pop Culture-y
"You will laugh your head off" - Weekend Notes
"Unforgettable...English appears at the zenith of her art." - The Plus Ones

Queen Margaret was the original Cersei Lannister. She was the model for Claire Underwood. She was a woman so cut throat and cold, she would make Lady MacBeth shit her pants. Only, none of that is true. From Hillary Clinton's emails, to Margaret of Anjou cursing the royal family, the way we view women in positions of power hasn't changed much.

People don’t tend to realize that Shakespeare’s histories are propaganda, and even 500 years later, very little has changed: Artists need to appeal to government for funding, leaders and ruled want to be praised, and women with power are more terrifying than the devil.

So here we are in the 21st century, and the question still begs to be asked: If all history remembers of you are the lies, does the truth even matter?

Weekend Notes Review: "I guarantee you that you will laugh your head off and you will cry your eyes out in laughter, pain and disbelief. Queen Margaret on stage is way different to Queen Margaret the genius of Shakespeare produced and immortalised in his works. She is alive, full of wit, sarcasm, royally thick venom and French smelling intrigue."

Pop Culture-y Review: " Shakespeare how it should be performed"

The Plus Ones Review:
"Gillian English packs a punch as defamed English queen, Margaret of Anjou, in deconstructed feminist outing, She Wolf. This lady knows her Shakespeare and reinterprets the wrongful depictions Bill landed this woman with with attack and wit. A skilled Shakespearean actor, our 21st century performer dices things both ways, chatting us up with frank pub-like talk, reciting Shakespeare in high dramatic style, then debunks the inherent biases in his texts as feminist assassin. 

Famed for her no holds barred audaciousness,  English waltzes into forbidden realms, destroying stereotypes in her path. Margaret of England is not the first significant female in history to have fiction tell her story, not truth, and Gillian is here to makeover and rewrite hers. Downing a bottle of wine while she regales us, her stage is set with a folder marked Shit Shakespeare Put In My Mouth before she even enters (this is later thrown down when she puts the bullshit on the floor where it belongs). Clad in a luxuriant medieval assemblage capped by 2D golden crown headpiece, this lady looks pretty-as-pie but, like the historical figure she depicts, she has confident ‘balls’! 

A mixture of personal backstory and a reply to history, English’s recites some of Margaret’s famous fictionalised speeches crafted into what are known as the saga-like history plays, Will’s rarely performed Henriad from early in his career, bringing him his first taste of stage writing fame. He keeps her alive from his Henry VI (Parts 1-3) into Richard III, declaiming How ill-beseeming is it in thy sex/ To triumph like an Amazonian trull. 

English's delivery is bold with a flagrant flaunting of convention. She has a way with words, moving from the conversational, to slang, to literate academic analysis in split seconds. She confidently veers off set text to mouth off about women's supposed penis envy (not), and how anger get things done. With killer punchlines like I didnt Yoko Ono England!, she packs a punch and doesn’t shy away from uncomfortable truths such as why men inscribe women’s histories instead of letting us do it ourselves, or at least, recording it objectively. 

English as stage presence is unforgettable. In reviving Margaret for an hour, her life is made important to us. Why don’t we hear history through women’s voices? This obscene silencing compels us to turn over some bones and dig through the cultural artefacts we are taught to hold high and interrogate their version of events, which this performer does with a wry smile and compelling artistry.

Appealing, strong, intelligent, artful, with great audience interaction skills, English appears at the zenith of her art. She takes the big guns on and leaves us laughing as she chips away at false idols. I love whatever this lady challenges us to rethink. 

Love history? Storytelling?…strong women you didn't know about? See two such presented here."


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