Going to the theatre is one of my favourite pastimes. I love the atmosphere, I love having a drink in the bar beforehand, and I love the feeling of winding down. So when the Bush Theatre invited me to watch one of their latest plays, how could I say no?
Ramona Tells Jim is a thought-provoking, bittersweet story about 17 year old Jim (Joe Bannister), who lives in the ‘shittiest’ village in Scotland and 15 year old Ramona (Ruby Bentall), who is from Englandshire, visiting the ‘shittiest’ town in Scotland on a school trip. Both of them are socially awkward and begin to fall in love with each other. Ramona, lonely and bullied by her classmates, finds friendship and her first love in Jim, a shy but kind soul, obsessed with crustaceans. The innocent side of the play begins to take a turn, and darker themes such as sexual assault and violence are shown, although rather acutely.
The play visits both characters 15 years later, where it is seemingly obvious that neither of them are happy about the way their lives turned out. Jim is now in a dysfunctional relationship with 19 year-old Pocahontas (Amy Lennox) and although I really liked the characters of Jim and Ramona, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Pocahontas. I think she was a fantastic actress, but her character was so childish and petty. The kind of character who fakes a pregnancy and won’t even know if it’s your baby, or has dreams of working in an office to wear trouser suits and eating a Boots meal deal for lunch, which the audience laughs at. I wasn’t sure how I felt about her, whether I felt sorry for her or disliked her. Perhaps that was the way I was meant to feel.
This was the first play that Sophie Wu (Kick-Ass, Wild Child), an inspiring playwright and actress, has written, after being a member of the Bush Theatre’s Emerging Playwright group. For a first play, I thought it was fantastic. The dialogue was intelligent and flowed, and all of the characters were bounced off of each other really well.
Besides the play, I was so happy and excited to visit the Bush Theatre again. I have visited before, when I watched Guards at the Taj, and it is fast becoming one of my favourite theatres in London. Ever since the refurbishment, it has a totally different vibe to it, and whenever I visit I just don’t want to leave. Their Reading Room, which is a room filled with books and mismatched chairs has the cosiest feel to it. If you haven’t visited then I totally recommend it!
Have you seen any new plays recently?
Ramona Tells Jim is at Bush Theatre until October 21st