Get our free email newsletter with just one click

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
by -

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.


We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.

Subscribers to The Stage get 10% off The Stage Tickets’ price
Devised one-woman show featuring some fine storytelling