A two-hander about immigrant women in late 1960s Zurich, The Good Women comes to the Network Theatre as part of the Vault Festival.
When Bette (Faith McCune) and Trudy (Lena Liedl) first meet, it is clear there is common ground between them, mot just sneaking out for a casual cigarette.
One is a popular TV chef, making scripted content for the traditional housewife; one is the wife of a professional man, quashed by his violence and permission.
The Good Women tackles inequality, freedom, love, worth, and patriarchy. Scripted by Sophie Marsden, it has many good ideas but needs a bit more thought to really shine – at times I felt an emotional emptiness.
I also thought that pacing issues were a problem in this piece (which ran longer than the advertised hour), with too many blackouts between scenes.
As recorded music was very much part of the show throughout, perhaps this could be utilised to cover character and time transitions?
Career issues, too, could be expanded: Bette’s chatty cook is restricted by her male director’s bias; Trudy finds it hard to find a job outside a secretarial pool and impossible inside one.
What I did like was the scene at candlelight on New Year’s Eve, and the sense of women being on the cusp of change which would allow them to live outside of problematic marriages.
With writer/director Marsden and designer Chloe Rochefort‘s vision, The Good Women is staged with a colourful TV kitchen and fake food, which also doubles as Bette’s house.
It just needs a bit more focus and tightening-up to allow these intriguing characters, their problems and aspirations, to shine.
The Good Women has its final performances at the Network Theatre today, 29 Jan. Tickets here.
Image credit: Austeja Cheg