A Museum of Curious Revelations
Etcetera Theatre, 16th-18th August 2010 (1 hour)
The Sharp Sisters are Alice Parsloe and Lesley Cook. They are joined by Romy Tennant and together, they present us with many curious characters.
The evening begins with the unveiling (literally) of the lady, who (for reasons which are to become obvious) would never allow her betrothed to kiss anything more than her hand. She’s followed by Rippling Rhona, who, despite her small stature, can rip books apart. (Just be sure not to make her angry!)
So far, it’s all amusing, but fairly standard stuff, and since the only props on the stage are a couple of curtains strung across dress racks and some additional clothes, you wonder how the evening is going to move on. But then, very suddenly and quite stylishly too, we’re behind the scenes, and all is not well in the Museum.
Threatened by political correctness, will the Museum survive? Will the new and slightly more raunchy acts secure the future of the freak show under another name? Can Rippling Rhona get to university? And will the lady with the cleaning fetish manage to impose order on her world?
These – and others – are the stories that gradually unravel throughout this fast-paced show with its myriad of costume changes, some dance, a very funny flash of neo-puppetry and some clever tricks of stagecraft. The players have a lot of presence throughout and have to cope with the fact that often just a change of hat and accent marks one character out from another, but that too is done with panache. Each character manages to appear as fairly sharply delineated, which itself is a testimony to the collective performers.
This is a production which has clearly been worked over for some time. It is played with a lot of energy and, despite the small space and the limited time available for costume changes, it is very slick indeed.
As for the comedy, it more often consists of gentle smile stuff, rather than things to laugh out loud at, but its impossible not to feel some genuine affection for these characters and the players who bring them to life.
Cast: Lesley Cook – Ethel Sharp/Rhona/Deirdre; Alice Parsloe – Sybil Sharp/Domestic Goddess/Tessa/ Protestor; Romy Tennant – Wilma/Bernie/Bloody Mary
Crew: Artistic consultants – Clare Lindsay and Sarah Marks; Lighting – Heather Rose; Sound – Jayne Allen; Stage Manager – Kate Reaney
reviewed 17 August
(c) Michael Spring 2010