Thursday, May 23, 2013

Bombshells - Review - People's Theatre

People’s Theatre
21st May 2013

Bombshells is a series of monologues from five women, all at different stages in their lives. They range from the supremely confident teenager, through the ambitious soon-to-be-wed, the harassed mother, the jilted wife, to the widow.
I don’t want to give too much away of their stories – because it would detract from the sheer delight and surprise if you are going along to see this brilliant production. But each one of the women faces a challenge or two – the bombshells of the title.  They display the full gamut of emotions – sadness, joy, disappointment, anger, living through resignation, determination, defeat, and in some cases finding hope.

The writing is tight and the acting superb. It is impossible to say that one actress was better than another. They draw out their characters beautifully – with poignancy and humour. Lauren Breese plays the harassed mother – and I defy anyone not to identify with her – struggling to cope with three children, lacking confidence in herself, desperately trying to keep up with the other mothers who are seemingly better organised, and whose children are perfect! Her story is followed by Theresa McTerry, the beautiful Bride to Be. Played by Jessica Hannah she convinces us all that she is marrying the man of her dreams. Vivacious and excitable, and marrying for all the wrong reasons, I couldn’t help but feel she deserved her bombshell! It’s all about the dress!
In complete contrast, the first half ends with Winsome Webster (Sue Hinton). Socialising daily with other widows, following the routine, doing what was expected. Respectable, almost regal in her demeanor, but oh! longing to be something other than a lonely widow, doing what’s right and proper. She longs for some kind of  fulfilment, for something more than a sense of duty done, and she does find a new sense of herself in the most unexpected of places! This was my favourite character of the five - and not just because she was the sauciest!
Next we were introduced to Tiggy Entwhistle, (Alison Carr) the abandoned wife. Shy, downtrodden, finding consolation in cacti. Embittered, but still loving her recalcitrant husband, and not quite ready to let him go.
The play ends with the exuberance of youth –  Mary O’Donnell (Harriet Tarpy), of St Brigit’s School, is the typically confident teenager: certain of her place in the world, sure of her own superiority over the other girls, determined to win, undaunted by the bombshell of another girl stealing her thunder. She puts the “talent” in “talent show”!

This is a play about situations and characters and it is brilliantly observed. The sets are simple – a chair, a table, a mirror, just enough to set the scene, enhancing each character not distracting from her, and were changed efficiently and unobtrusively, in darkness, between each scene.

I thoroughly enjoyed Bombshells – laughing out loud at times, as did everyone in the audience, including my mother who I had dragged along with me! Two telling comments from the evening – from the young guy in the row behind, who we overheard at the interval saying, “It was getting a bit hot in here just then, thought I might have to take my jumper off!” (Winsome, you read magnificently!) And my mother, who says she will never look at her cacti in the same way again!

Bombshells runs until the 25th May and I highly recommend it. You will come away smiling and uplifted. And with a renewed interest in cacti!

Denise Sparrowhawk

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