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The Year of the Rooster Monk review at Pleasance Theatre, London – ‘fine storytelling’

Giselle Gant in The Year of the Rooster Monk at Pleasance Theatre, London. Photo: Cameron Harle
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Giselle is eight years away from turning 40 and worried she is turning into her mother. She’s worried about a lot of things, actually – including an impending eviction. Her current home is the apartment in which she grew up.

It’s owned by her mother, and she has been living there rent-free while trying to make it as an actor in NYC. Embracing a new found level of free-spiritedness, her mother decides to cash in on the wave of gentrification sweeping the city, and sell up.

The Year of the Rooster Monk is a devised piece that’s part-performance, part-stand up comedy, part-physical theatre. Giselle Gant is an excellent storyteller and a dynamic performer – she’s a joy to watch. She brings each character to life with a lilt of her tongue or a hunch of her back. Sometimes it’s subtle, but the characters are all well formed, with an especially enjoyable Latino rooster-selling storekeeper. But, given the very niche referencing, the material feels like it would land better with an American audience.

Nadege Adlam’s set design resembles the aftermath of a millennial house party. Red wine-stained kitchen towels, multicoloured party streamers and classic American red cups litter the apartment floor. A street sign for Malcolm X Boulevard hangs against the backdrop, locating us in Harlem.

There have been a lot of powerful one-woman shows recently including Tatty Hennessy’s A Hundred Words for Snow and Urielle Klein-Mekongo’s Yvette but The Year of the Rooster Monk, while promising, is not quite at their level.

 

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Verdict
Devised one-woman show featuring some fine storytelling
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