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Review: Martina Cole’s Dangerous Lady at Stratford’s Theatre Royal East

PUBLISHED: 13:00 31 October 2012

Scene from Dangerous Lady  at the Theatre Royal Stratford

Scene from Dangerous Lady at the Theatre Royal Stratford

Archant

Some people go to the theatre to be entertained, others to be engaged and challenged.

Scenes from Dangerous Lady on stage at the Theatre Royal Stratford Scenes from Dangerous Lady on stage at the Theatre Royal Stratford

Dangerous Lady is a gripping drama, full of raw emotions and a liberal dose of the harsh realities of life - so it succeeds on all counts.

Although the novel by Martina Cole was published 20 years ago it shows no signs of looking dated if the stage performance at Theatre Royal Stratford East is anything to go by.

There were several threads; a romance gone wrong, a family at war with itself and the gritty reality of gangland life all intertwined with each other.

Patrick Prior, adapted the book for stage with a tight script that still elicited laughs early in the lay with wit and sharp observations.

At its heart are the Ryans, mother Sarah (Veronica Quilligan), daughter Maura (Claire-Louise Cordwell) and brother Michael (James Clyde). Their characters dominate the stage as Maura finds herself falling in love with a policeman, only to suffer at her villian brother’s hands when he finds out. There is plenty of strong language and violence in a fast moving play that charts the family’s struggles from the 1950s to the 1980s.

In a touching, almost gruesome scene a teenage Maura dragged on to a table to undergo an abortion in a block of smelly flats.

The experience proves to be the making of her as she takes on her part in the family business - a route that ends in the death of all three brothers and has Maura and her mother exchanging some home truths.

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