Power, corruption and an all-female cast in OVO’s production of Splendour in St Albans

OVO brings Splendour to the Maltings Arts Theatre

OVO brings Splendour to the Maltings Arts Theatre - Credit: Archant

An all-female cast will take to the stage in St Albans in Abi Morgan’s tense and riveting play Splendour.

OVO bring Abi Morgan’s early work to the Maltings Arts Theatre for a two-weekend run, from Thursday, March 16 to Saturday, March 18, and then from Thursday, March 23 to Saturday, March 25, with all performances at 8pm.

Splendour tells the story of four women in one room, in one evening, awaiting the arrival of one man.

The room is the opulent drawing room of the presidential palace, the man is the dictatorial leader of an unnamed country on the brink of civil war and the women are his wife, her best friend, a western photojournalist waiting to take his portrait, and a translator.

The dictator is late and as the revolution unfolds on the streets outside and pressure mounts, the four women find themselves drinking vodka and sharing secrets.

Facades start to fall and, eventually, each of these women is forced to make a life-defining choice.

Long established as a hugely successful playwright, Abi Morgan has gained a wider following through authoring scripts for a number of popular films and TV shows including The Iron Lady, The Hour, Birdsong and River.

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In this early example of her work from 2000, Morgan highlights the fragility of power and gives us a glimpse into the minds of four very different women as their world turns.

Starring a quartet of Hertfordshire’s finest actresses, OVO’s production is directed by company regular Janet Podd, who directed Playhouse Creatures, another all-female play, to great acclaim in 2015.

Of the play, she said: “I saw Splendour in its first performance at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh in 2000 and from the start I was fascinated, by both the play’s form and content.

“All the women have secrets and all have developed self-deceiving strategies which allow them to function in this disintegrating world.

“As the play unfolds, Morgan takes us back over and over again to the beginning, and the shattering of a valuable Venetian vase.

“With each repeat, each shifting of the lens, we learn more about the inner lives of the four women as their defence mechanisms are torn away.

“The play takes a cold, hard look at the devastating effects of the corruption of power on four very different women.”

Full price tickets are £12, concessions £11 and under-18s £7.50.

• Tickets are available at www.ticketsource.co.uk/ovo