Theatre Review: Bitch Boxer

 

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Charlotte Josephine packs a punch. Photo courtesy of Alex Brener.

Bitch Boxer is a fierce piece of new writing on at the Soho Theatre Upstairs till the 9th of March.  Charlotte Josephine, winner of the 2012 Soho Young Writers Award, has written a funny and at times heart-wrenching tale of a female boxer named Chloe from Leytonstone.  On the surface Chloe might seem like a simple-minded kind of chick but Josephine has managed to create and perform a character who’s got a lot more to teach us than we might think.

The stage at the Soho Theatre upstairs is pitch black till the lights come up and a ball of energy appears in front of us.  This firecracker is Chloe who is telling us that she’s woken up “well-late!” We can all sympathise with her plight as she explains that she’s doing “multi-tasking to the max…trying to tidy up/ make breakfast and get dressed at the same time.” However, this morning the worst thing imaginable happens. While taking her trash out, the door shuts behind her and she’s locked out.  From there Josephine cleverly lays out the story for us as if she’s just talking to some mates down at the pub.  It’s marvelously acted and sets us up for the rest of monologue.

As you may know the London 2012 Olympics welcomed women into the ring for the very first time and when Chloe says “it’s practically on my doorstep / throw a stone and I’m there”; I could feel myself getting butterflies for her. Chloe then takes the audience through her whole journey to London 2012 but along the way while training for the fight of her life; she is knocked back by two major transformational life events.

I wouldn’t want to reveal what these events are as that would take away from the lovely narrative surprises in the piece. I think the brilliance of Josephine’s performance is in its rawness.  She can make you fall in love with Chloe, feel sympathy and even embarrassment for her from one moment to the next.  She has succeeded in writing a character that is real and anything but one-dimensional.  A girl you might bump into at your cramped local pub loo or on the street.  She’s REAL and this is precisely what was so great about the writing. It’s fresh and so is her delivery. Josephine is an engaging performer who possesses these penetrating and expressive eyes which seemed to transfix the audience during the show.

Bitch Boxer is an entertaining hour of theatre packed full of punches in Soho. What could be better than that?

On till March 9 at Soho Theatre Upstairs. Box Office 020 7478 0100

 

About Melissa Palleschi

Melissa Palleschi New York actress living in London and trained in Italy, New York and here in London at the Actors Studio. She is also a founding member of the Planktonic Players, who made their London debut at Camden Fringe Festival in 2012.

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