Home » Reviews » Drama » Review: Sophia, online
Review image for Sophia

Review: Sophia, online

Pitlochry Festival Theatre and the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh

Pitlochry Festival Theatre and the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh If you’d asked me who Sophia Jex-Blake was before listening to this play, I’d be ashamed to say that I did not know. Despite considering myself a feminist, and devouring the stories of women throughout history, Sophia’s name was not one I was familiar with. Thankfully, this play has rectified my oversight. Sophia Jex-Blake fought for women to have the right to a medical education and went on to become the first practising female doctor in Scotland. And this stunning new play, Sophia, tells her story. This is the third…

Summary

Rating

Excellent

Sophia sheds light on an inspirational and important woman who we should all know and understand. You’ll be entranced.

User Rating: Be the first one !

If you’d asked me who Sophia Jex-Blake was before listening to this play, I’d be ashamed to say that I did not know. Despite considering myself a feminist, and devouring the stories of women throughout history, Sophia’s name was not one I was familiar with. Thankfully, this play has rectified my oversight. Sophia Jex-Blake fought for women to have the right to a medical education and went on to become the first practising female doctor in Scotland. And this stunning new play, Sophia, tells her story.

This is the third play I’ve listened to as part of the Pitlochry Festival Theatre and the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh‘s new audio-digital theatre platform Sound Stage, and it’s another of exceptional high quality which transported me to another world. Suddenly I’m not sitting on my sofa in Wandsworth, instead I’m standing with Sophia and her fellow female students in the late 1800’s, facing the animosity from the men around them as they try to fight for the right to a medical education.

Our heroine, played by Madeleine Worrall, portrays such strength of character yet sacrifices so much to get what she desires. Sophia’s personal life is shared alongside her professional struggles, with the two loves of her life effectively used to share her story. Sophia’s former student and final lover, Margaret (Fletcher Mathers) is writing a book about Sophia’s life, and she boldly asks another of Sophia’s loves (Natalie Grady) to proofread her book. It’s a clever plot device, allowing reflection on many aspects of Sophia’s life and struggles in a relatively short play.

The quality of the recording, the sound scape and all the cast are all exceptionally high. As a result, it takes mere minutes to become enthralled in Sophia’s story. I found myself getting angry at the plight of these women, loudly agreeing when they question how men, who can’t concentrate if women are in the same lecture theatre, will ever be able to treat women in a hospital. The fact is that woman at that time were dying, because they didn’t want to tell a male doctor what was wrong. The utter absorption of the story is testament to the impeccable way in which the play is recorded. There’s not one weak link.

By the end of the play you’ll have such a full understanding of this incredible woman and the fight she struggled with for so many years. Having started the play not knowing who she was, come the end I felt like I understood the passions and struggles of Sophia Jex-Blake intimately. I won’t forget her name.

Written by: Frances Poet
Directed by: Janys Chambers
Produced by: Pitlochry Festival Theatre and Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh in collaboration with Naked Productions

Sophia plays as part of Sound Stage series. Further information and booking via the below link.

About Lily Middleton

Lily currently works for a gardening magazine, so spends her days writing about plants. When not stretching her green fingers, she can be found in a theatre or obsessively crafting. Her love of theatre began with musicals as a child, Starlight Express at the Apollo Victoria being her earliest memory of being completely entranced. She studied music at university and during this time worked on a few shows in the pit with her violin, notably Love Story (which made her cry more and more with each performance) and Calamity Jane (where the gunshot effects never failed to make her jump). But it was when working at Battersea Arts Centre at the start of her career that her eyes were opened to the breadth of theatre and the impact it can have. This solidified a life-long love of theatre, whether in the back of a pub, a disused warehouse or in the heart of the West End.