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'Joy' review or 'I'll have none of those watery smiles.'

Joy, Stephanie Martin
Theatre Royal Stratford East, 26th October 2017
Written for Time Out

Joy is a busy person. She has a job at the pub, a place at college, a boyfriend (Paul), a best friend (Sue) and a fondness for pop music. Joy also has a learning disability and in Stephanie Martin’s thoughtful new playis played by disabled actor Imogen Roberts. Roberts is brilliant – so open and emotional – and it is her vibrant performance which forces us to think differently. Joy’s story plays out against a giant blackboard, which designer Carla Goodman has filled with dotted images. As we learn more about Joy’s life, the dots are filled in and a rich picture emerges. We discover Joy’s deep love for her family; her passion for books, swimming, the cinema and drama; her desire to get married and have a baby.  A sub-plot set in Victorian times – which sees two sisters (one with learning disabilities) try to find their place in the world – only slows things down. This is Stephanie Martin’s first full-…

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