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Thursday, March 30, 2023

Sylvia “A tremendous show. Go see” #hiphop #sylvia @oldvictheatre

Yesterday afternoon I went to the Old Vic in London’s glitzy Waterloo to see Sylvia - the hip-hop musical about Suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst’s fight to give women the right to vote in the UK. 

It was a tremendous show. A great story with great music. Very similar in style to Hamilton (some, perhaps unfairly, have dubbed the show Lady Hamilton) it deserves all the awards coming to it. 

It was funny too. And intersectional. Although writing a musical about intersectionality might not have seemed a barrel of laughs at first. 

The intersectionality occurs between the fundamental feminist idea that women are equal to men and the then emerging socialist idea that all people are equal. 

In 1903, Sylvia’s mother Emmeline Pankhurst founded the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), an all-women suffrage advocacy organisation dedicated to "deeds, not words". The group identified as independent from – and often in opposition to – political parties.

Later Sylvia broke from this apolitical stance and became a socialist believing all disenfranchised people should get the vote. This schism provides much of the drama of the show. 

Emmeline charges on for women. 
Sylvia charges on for women, men, the poor. 
It’s fairly clear where the show’s sympathies lie. 

Later after partial enfranchisement is achieved Emmeline Pankhurst actually stands as a Conservative political that caused great guffawing among the audience. 

Go see. 

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