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Woman

Baron's Court, W14
Rachel Halliburton

INTERNECINE feminist politics, sibling rivalry and a goldfish called Germaine are just some features of Ian Flintoff's ambitious play, which examines conflicts between British feminism at the turn of the century and its more complex image today. How would the world fare with a female president of the United States? Would we be better off if Foreign Secretary Jack Straw were a woman? And why - despite feminism's significant advances - can we only discuss political questions posed in 1913 as wavering hypotheses rather than historical facts?

johanne_murdockInevitably, because of the vast canvas he has mapped out, Flintoff's drama visits interesting landmarks in the feminist debate yet still gives the impression that a large amount of territory has been unexplored.

What is interesting is his decision to put the microscope on the conflicting motives of early feminists such as Emmeline Pankhurst's daughters Christabel (Johnanne Murdock, pictured) and Sylvia (Daily Douglas). This drama would be far stronger if he devoted the whole script to their embattled aspirations, and allowed women of today to draw their own contrasts.

Murdock and Douglas exude spirit and assertiveness, but could be polemically sparkier. Flintoff's performance resonates with gravitas in an evening that - even so - raises far more questions than it answers.

Evening Standard