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Coffee and the unbearable C-question

PODCAST REVIEW: BRYONY.

Bryony

SOD the curious customer! Bryony is played by Leah Gaffey in ‘The End of the Line’. Photograph courtesy Ink Jockey.

WHAT IS IT with the notion of idle chatter that fills up space and the woman who is serving your breakfast? What gives you the right to ponder her private parts and life choices over your scrambled eggs? This is the central theme of Bryony, the fifth episode in the podcast series The End of the Line, directed by Mark Heywood.

Played by Leah Gaffey, this piece is richly barbed with sarcasm and the kind of vicious fury that may make you laugh, because of its devastatingly on-cue timing. But it contains a sucker punch about half way through, that may bring out cold shivers or tears for you. Bryony is written and constructed beautifully in three dimensions. You can visualise her, in her branded polo neck and apron, and the roughness of her situation through her taut and skilled delivery.

Different in focus to the other women we have heard so far in this series, Bryony hits the mark with her every phrase and curse. Slotting into the series’ theme, in its feminist containment, this is easily the strongest piece so far. You want to hear more of Bryony’s anger, because it makes you feel vindicated in your disdain for the people who consider the dreaded c-question – do you have children? – to be something they are entitled to ask. Bryony pulls no punches in her language and fury. She is brash and candid and the piece feels too short: you want to meet her and commiserate. Listen here.

  • Bryony is written by Helen Kettle, directed by Mark Heywood and features technical input by Hetty Hodgson. With music by Daisy Chute and Cerian of the Heard Collective, it is performed by Leah Gaffey and it is the fifth in a series of podcasts produced by Ink Jockey collectively called The End of the Line.

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