Apologia at Trafalgar Studios

apologia london

On Saturday I went to see Apologia at Trafalgar Studios in London. I haven’t had the a chance to read the play but here is the synopsis:

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.

Again, it will be no surprise to hear (after reading that cast) but I absolutely loved it.

It’s one of those plays that you watch and never want it to end. Even if I saw it again with the same cast, in the same theatre, it wouldn’t be the same. It’s part of why I love the theatre, but it’s so sad when the show ends as you know you can never get that performance back.

First of all the play itself is brilliant. It has really nice tones to it and it shifts effortlessly from being awkward to endearing, to funny, to disastrous, to quite horrific, to funny again. Huge hats off to Alexi Kaye Campbell, the writer, it’s brilliant along with Jamie Lloyd’s direction.

Now I’ll be honest Freema Agyeman was not my favourite Doctor Who companion, sorry Freema. But that was due to the character and writing, as whilst she was playing a love sick woman, damn Freema Agyeman can act. She was hilarious as the self obsessed soap actress Claire who stirs up drama in a family she’s not part of, and clearly doesn’t want to be part.

Also Laura Carmichael is fantastic. Again Edith was not my favourite character on Downton Abbey, but Laura 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.

Apologia, not to be confused with Apology as Kristen states means a formal written defence of one’s opinions or conduct a distinction that is outlined in the play. Kristen is in no way apologetic and Stockard Channing does not give an apologetic performance in the slightest and that’s probably why I loved it so much.

The character has balls and honesty and is 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.

I’m also thrilled that I got to watch these amazing women perform (the men were also good) but it is rare to see such amazing actress (that I love) play characters that I also love. It’s just nice to see a balance of powerhouse characters and to have characters which are as unapologetically awful as many of Beckett’s or Shakespeare’s male characters are.

Have you seen or read Apologia?

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