On Saturday I went to see Apologia at Trafalgar Studios in London. I hadn’t had a chance to read the play *I cry* just the synopsis that read:
Kristin Miller is an eminent art historian about to celebrate her birthday with her family. What should be a happy occasion is revealed to be anything but. The recent publication of the matriarch’s memoirs provides the kindling for fiery exchanges between family members. Miller’s success, it seems, has not come without a considerable cost.
I also read a few reviews about how fantastic the cast is, which isn’t surprising considering Stockard Channing was Kristen the lead character, who was supported by Joseph Millson and (the hilarious) Desmond Barrit, Laura Carmichael and Freema Agyeman – yep what a dream.
And I LOVED it. SO SO MUCH. It’s one of those plays you watch and never want it to end, bc even if you saw it again with the same cast, in the same theatre, it will never be the same, which is part of why I love theatre, but it is damn sad when it’s over.
First the play itself is FAB. It has really nice tones to it and it shifts effortlessly from being a awkward, to endearing, to funny, to disastrous, to quite horrific, to funny again, and that is a HUGE hats off to Alexi Kaye Campbell the writer as well as Jamie Lloyd’s direction, as well as the cast.
Now I’ll be honest Freema Agyeman was not my fave Doctor Who companion, which was definitely because compared to a hilarious pal like Donna Noble, a love sick Doctor for the Doctor isn’t as fun. But that was the character and writing, while Agyeman on the other hand DAMN can she act. She was hilarious as the self obsessed soap actress Claire who stirs up family drama in a family she’s not part of, and clearly doesn’t want to be part of as she’s made plans with another man for Thursday – eyy.
Also Laura Carmichael is fantastic, and again Edith was not my favourite character on Downton Abbey, but again she is an amazing actor and her American accent was faultless. She also was perfect for defusing tension with her cute innocent God-squad-preaching or awkward comments at inappropriate moments. She was perfect for the role and was hilarious.
Apologia, not to be confused with Apology as Kristen states means a formal written defence of one’s opinions or conduct different to apology a distinction that is outlined in the play as Kristen is in no way apologetic as Channing does not give an apologetic performance in the slightest and that’s probably why I loved it so much. She’s given balls and truth to a terrible mother who neglected her children for the sake of her career and activism, to the extent that you accept her snide comments because they’re delivered with such confidence and humour that you can’t not love her for being herself.
PS I’m so glad that I got to watch such amazing women perform – as well as the man as they were just as flipping good – because it feels rare to see amazing actress you love play characters you can also love and will also provide you with monologues (lol pls). It’s just nice to see a balance of powerhouse characters, and to have characters such as Kristen which are as unapologetically awful as many Beckett or Shakespeare male characters are.