Theatre review: Letters To Windsor House

Rebecca Biscuit and Louise Mothersole create a fierce, thoughtful show from a real-life experience.

Rebecca Biscuit and Louise Mothersole create a fierce, thoughtful show from a real-life experience.

Star rating: ****

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Venue: Summerhall (Venue 26)

To put it bluntly, Windsor House in London N4 is not as posh a place as it sounds. It’s a bleak block of 1970s council flats, some still in council hands, most now sold off and rented out; and when Rebecca Biscuit and Louise Mothersole of Sh!t Theatre went to live there, with a third flatmate, they knew they were at the rough end of London’s ever-more-impossible housing market.

But what they didn’t expect was the ever-growing pile of mysterious mail for past residents that kept accumulating in their flat, with the landlord apparently uninterested in forwarding it.

This clever, hilarious and thoughtful show is the result of their increasingly obsessive quest to track down their Windsor House predecessors, almost all of whom – except, perhaps, an enigmatic individual called Rob Jecock – are transient victims of London’s housing crisis, long gone to places where rents are more affordable.

Meanwhile, Biscuit and Mothersole amuse themselves, and us, by contrasting images of real life in Windsor House with the publicity material produced by the developers who are building million-pound luxury flats nearby, and trying to market the place as a parkland paradise a few minutes from central London.

And the whole show is punctuated not only by the occasional typical burst of performative daftness, but also by fierce original songs with a hard edge of pure punk, leaving us in no doubt that Biscuit and Mothersole – whose friendship eventually cracks a bit, under the strain of co-creation in a damp flat which turns out to have a very dodgy lease indeed – are capable of feeling the rage, when it comes to the betrayal and exploitation of places like Windsor House, their history, and their people.

Until 28 August. Today 1:35pm.