By The Balls Theatre Company is a womxn and queer-led theatre group. Their debut production, Goodbye ’89 is all about chosen family, that period in life when friends are family, and standing up for what is right. We meet this group of young women on New Year’s Eve in 1989, as they prepare to protest.

The stage is filled with protesting signs, displaying slogans about the AIDs epidemic and others such as ‘stop the clause’. It’s evident from the signs and the décor that we’ve travelled back in time to the late eighties, and subsequently life under Thatcher’s government.

Goodbye ’89 is a six-hander, and each cast member has developed a fully formed, distinct character. The personalities of each shine through, and there is an authentic air about all of them – they all resemble real people we could meet in London right now. They are a self-proclaimed group of ‘whores, dykes and strays’.

The show only has an hour to tell us their story with the underpinning message they have chosen of the female activists of the 80s, and they spend quite a long time introducing the characters to us and setting up the story. Although it’s nice for them to all be properly introduced, I feel this time should be focused more on the story they want to tell. Plus, they spent time introducing all of them except Beth, as she enters later, and at the end it is her who delivers an emotive monologue, which unfortunately is not as impactful as it should be, as we don’t properly know the character.

A standout performance comes from Michaella Moore who is sharp in their delivery of the clever and amusing one-liners contained within the script. Ellen Trevaskiss also gives an engaging performance as the very likeable Staffy, who oozes kookiness.

Goodbye ’89 is a solid debut, with an important story at its core, which deserves to be told. Their creation of unique and realistic characters is brilliant, and gives the show a sitcom-style feel. Some reworking of the script will enable them to create a fully realised and impactful production, and a slightly longer running time will aid this too. I look forward to what By The Balls do next.

Rating: 3 out of 5.


VAULT Festival has been left without a venue for 2024’s festival and beyond
• VAULT Festival have launched a #SaveVAULT campaign
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• You can help by donating, helping access funding networks, and helping then find a venue.
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{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

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