Review: All The Men Are Going To Hate Me, Camden People’s Theatre ★★★☆☆

by Natalie Evans 

Written and performed by newcomer Maria Telnikoff, this one woman production was a riotous celebration of female sexuality. Everything promised stylistically was delivered and more, with dance, poetry, and stand up comedy all encased within this piece of postmodern theatre.

There was a delightful relatability for the fellow young women in the room, creating a safe space for us to laugh along with Maria as she so openly told us her series of situationships and dating disasters. Also peppered throughout the script were witty dissections of some of the famous literary classics and their male authors. For example, an excellently made point that the Odyssey is essentially a tale of an extended ‘gap yar’ in a mythical setting.

While entertaining, the writing did seem to want for dramaturgical input; someone to support Telnikoff to ensure every element of the script is working towards portraying the overall desired message of the story. Specifically, I would have liked there to be a clearer journey for the character we were invited to invest in. We were shut out from the deepest and (I assume) most authentic chapters of this story, understandably, but it did feel like there was a piece of the puzzle missing. There were a few moments that would have benefitted from a more serious tone in order to create emotional balance as I for one felt like I was patiently waiting for the mask to drop.

Having said this, I am sadly not able to truly know whether or not this moment would have been given since we were left on a cliffhanger after the performance was brought to an abrupt end due to the space needing to be cleared for the next performance in the evening’s programme.

Additionally, the use of a microphone was definitely appropriate for the stand-up nature of the performance style, but I found that it was very difficult to track the logic of its use. There didn’t appear to be anything in particular inspiring Maria to pick up or put down the mic, so it made the choice seem a little like an afterthought. Furthermore, I also believe that a director would have been an asset, to tighten the pace and variation of delivery.

The moment that I felt I connected with the story most was during the interpretive movement sequence towards the end of the play wherein Maria carefully caressed her intricately expressive facial features as a way of exploring the intimacy of non-sexual, yet romantic touch. It was a rare moment of subtlety and genuine vulnerability in a very energetic and performative piece.

Seeing as this play is still a work-in-progress, it was an excellent first performance for the hopefully ongoing process.

All The Men Are Going To Hate Me was performed exclusively at the Camden People’s Theatre on the 7th June 2023 as part of Calm Down Dear Festival