Zip It – Written/Directed by Bel Harrison
Stage@Leeds Theatre, 25th and 26th April – 18 Cromer Terrace, Woodhouse, Leeds LS2 9JS
“How many voices must be taken before we are heard?”
It felt like the first days of summer on Monday afternoon in Leeds, with the sun illuminating this famous industrial city, while at the stage @ leeds an audience waited eagerly for the much-anticipated opening night of Zip It, the debut play of talented writer, director, and performer Bel Harrison. Harrison, was accompanied on stage by an all-female cast, including Hester Cox, Maya Willcocks, Caroline Adebayo and Rachael Kingsland, all members of the National Youth Theatre. The brookesque stage, was lighted and designed by Technical Stage Manager, Natalia Izquierdo.
Upon entering the theatre, the audience where given participation materials and star-studded treatment, whilst escorted by the security to their seats, with a feel of the “The Play that goes wrong” the fits of laughter began. Upon the lights coming up, transforming the space to a dystopian game show that navigated through the complex 21st centuries surface level of dating, whilst shifting to follow the friendship of two young women and their experience of womanhood, sexual harassment, and domestic violence.
Brave, broken and not alone. The play sheds light on many women’s reality, in a world still plagued by inequality and anxious walks home at night. The audience were pulled back and forth between realities, the ritualistic and dark comedy, with smart use of both sound and shadows that distorted the liminal space between fear and freedom. Moreover, the use of audience participation allowed for collective satire and powerful moments of unison, standing together in solidarity for all those suffering in silence and remembering those we have lost. “How many voices must be taken before we are heard?”
Overall, it was a successful debut for Harrison and the hard-working cast, I am intrigued how Zip it will continue to develop, and how it may change once touring. The play will appear at The Edinburgh Fringe with their run on the 22.08.2022 – 27.08.2022 at the Space, Niddry St (Upper) at 15:00pm. The play has already been getting coverage across BBC Radio Derby and in the Buxton Advertiser.
A final word- Zip it tackles a range of challenging topics, so Harrison and the rest of the crew have partnered up with Women’s Solace Aid Charity and have set up a workshop with them called “Safety in Society”. Audience members can sign up to attend for free if they have been affected by the themes of the play.