Mad Man Sad Woman

Monday 22 May 2017

London Fringe - New shows

Coronation Street comes to the East End in Chilean writer Juan Radrigán's powerful play, Mad Man Sad Woman, destined for The Space from 20 June to 8 July 2017.
Mad Man Sad Woman at The Space

Image: Head for Heights Theatre Company

Coronation Street and Mr. Selfridge actor Sadie Shimmin co-stars with Bil Stuart in the UK premiere of acclaimed Chilean writer Juan Radrigán's powerful play Mad Man Sad Woman, presented by Head for Heights Theatre Company at The Space.

Translated by Catherine Boyle and directed by Sue Dunderdale, the drama portrays two desperate people trying to find hope and love amidst the rubble of a crumbling city.

The sound of bulldozers competes with music (with an original score by award-winning jazz composer Dominic Ashworth) as Eva and Huinca fight for survival in a world which has forgotten them.

First performed in 1980 as El loco y la triste, Radrigán's play centres on questions of human dignity in the midst of extreme marginality and what living means for those who are brutalised by their experience of survival in a society which has abandoned them.

Hunica, a drunk dying of cirrhosis of the liver, and Eva, a lame prostitute, have been forced together in a condemned house.

The two initially resent each other, but little by little they manage to find music, laughter, and love, and, as the bulldozers move in, control over their own fates.

Eva is played by Sadie Shimmin - recent credits include Nessa in Coronation Street, Miss Plunkett in Mr Selfridge; Eastenders; Call the Midwife; Wallander and Cuffs.

Theatre includes Echo's End (Salisbury Playhouse); Life of Galileo (Birmingham Rep and RSC); Mary Shelley (Shared Experience for West Yorkshire Playhouse/Tricycle); and Andromache & Pericles (Cheek by Jowl).

Huinca is played by Bil Stuart - credits include Sixteen Years of Alcohol; Hollyoaks; Enemy of the People (Octagon Bolton) Ninevah (Riverside Studios/Theatre Temoin); Hard Places (Mercury Theatre); The Tempest (Barbican); Blackwatch (National Theatre of Scotland); he was nominated as Best Supporting Actor at the Manchester Theatre Awards for his performance as Marco in The View from the Bridge (Octagon Bolton).

Sue Dunderdale is a theatre and television director and founding member of Head for Heights.

She is best known for fostering new talent and award-winning writers.

Recent theatre credits include Told Look Younger by Stephen Wyatt and Head for Heights' production of Beasts by Juan Radrigán at Theatre503. Television credits include Holby City, Eastenders, The Bill, Casualty.

Sue has directed Sean Bean, Helena Bonham-Carter, Ian Hart and Johnny Lee Miller, amongst other well-known names.

Catherine Boyle, also a founding member of Head for Heights, is Professor of Latin American Studies at King's College London, and is Principal Investigator with Out of the Wings, an AHRC- funded initiative to create a database of Latin American plays in translation.

She has previously translated House of Desires for the RSC and Beasts for Head for Heights.

The production team includes:

- West End and Broadway sound designer John Leonard (winner of the prestigious Harold Burris-Meyer Distinguished Career in Sound Award);

- set and costume designer Amelia Jane Hankin, who has designed for the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Southwark Playhouse, and the Bush;

- lighting designer Rory Beaton, winner of the 2016 Michael Northern Award.

Director Sue Dunderdale says:

"At its centre, Mad Mad Sad Woman is a love story, lived out by two people who have only ever experienced hatred from others and contempt from society.

Their story is immediately relevant to the thousands of Britons trying to deal with extreme deprivation in these times of austerity."

On Juan Radrigán, translator Catherine Boyle says:

"Radrigán came to prominence during the Pinochet dictatorship as one of the voices that named the social and human injustices of the regime.

His writing brings to the stage a brutal yet poetic language that tells the stories of those historically left behind by politics and the state.

It speaks to today as powerfully as it did when it was first performed."


Sadie Shimmin - Eva

Bil Stuart - Huinca


Writer: Juan Radrigán, translated by Catherine Boyle

Director: Sue Dunderdale

Composer: Dominic Ashworth

Set/Costume Designer: Amelia Jane Hankin

Sound Designer: John Leonard

Lighting Designer: Rory Beaton

The Space, London, photographed from the street in front of the building.

Photo: Peter Brown 2015


The Space

269 Westferry Road

London E14 3RS


20 June to 8 July 2017


£14; £10 concessions

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