The CageBirds’ and ‘The Regina Monologues’

Date 12th October 2019
Society The Attfield Theatre Co Ltd
Venue Attfield Theatre
Type of Production Play
The CageBirds - Director Debbie Jones
The Regina Monologues - Director India Watson


Author: Jordan McFarlane

This was my first time seeing Attfield Theatre as Regional Representative.

The evening contained two one-act plays. ‘The CageBirds’ by David Campton and ‘The Regina Monologues’ by Rebecca Russell & Jenny Wafter  

The Cagebirds:

David Campton’s Cagebirds is one of those plays that is shamefully not as well-known or acclaimed as it should be. Written in 1971, it combines absurdism with realism, detailed characters with grand ideas, comedy with darkness. It was good to see that Debbie Jones decided to move away from the traditional all-female cast. It was set a very minimal staging which worked exceptionally well, this made the audience home in on the message that is being portrayed.

The action in the play takes off when the ‘Mistress’ played by Christine Hughes decided to add an additional bird into the cage reassuring “The Wild One” that she is going to protect him and look after him from the outside world.

Rob Davies who plays “The Wild One” really brought his all to the stage and had the audience on the edge of their seats where he tries to persuade the rest of the birds who live in their own worlds a “Mirror-Eyed Gazer”, “The Great Guzzler”, “The Medicated Gloom” That there is no roofs, no cages, locks or keys, an abundance of food all outside waiting for them. His emotional attempt puts most of the birds off other than “The Constant Twitting” played by Sian Kerr who breaks and helps “The Wild One” to escape.

The cast performed well; I do feel that a little more stage direction could have been given to other members of the cast.

The Regina Monologues:

Six women with one thing in common – marriage to a man called Henry - have passed into historical legend. Of course, it couldn’t happen these days… Six modern women have also married one man.  Their lives are both separate and intertwined as they tell their stories from a room in which they have all once lived. Their experiences – miscarriage, love affairs, betrayal, and a shared loathing of all things ginger – are portrayed with humour, pathos and a great deal of wine.

We start the play in a room they all have in common, a room they’ve all shared. We are introduced to a perky barmaid Debra Watson who plays Henry's first wife (Catherine of Aragon).

Grace Turner who played “Katie” (Catherine Howard) had the most difficult part to play. Thinking that she was just visiting her “Uncle” Henry who is going to help her family has her dad’s business is falling into bankruptcy. She soon realises that splashing and playing around in her uncle swimming pool isn’t all that her “uncle” was after. Such as heart ranching moment for anyone to have to perform on stage a Turner took it in her stride. I know she had me with the watery eye!

As we move through all of henrys wives, we arrive at April Ryder who plays “Katherine” (Catherine Parr) she puts up with the unsavoury aspects of the ageing spouse with her eyes firmly fixed upon the price after all this was her 3rd husband!

I think was a great first show for India Watson to direct. I look forward to seeing what she decided to do next.

I look forward to meeting you at your next production James and the Giant Peach later this year.