“Fuck the singing… we’re just gonna go mental”.
The girls from ‘Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour’ don’t disappoint on this statement as they head to Edinburgh to take part in a national choral competition. For Chell, Fionnula, Kay, Kylah, Manda and Orla this is a rite of passage, an adventure, an alcoholic; drug fuelled; sex-obsessed rampage across the Capital City.
Adapted by Lee Hall (of Alan Warner’s novel ‘The Sopranos’), this play is simply breath-taking in its honesty, it’s vulnerability and the way it tackles shocking themes (teenage drinking, sex and rock and roll). The characters are acutely real and having the time of their lives which translates directly to the audience. They characters (and cast) are incredibly funny with natural comedy timing but also demonstrate some intense, heart-breaking vulnerabilities in their relationships with each other and the world.
It’s rare to see such a cohesive and connected ensemble, but under the direction of Vicky Featherstone these six very gifted young actors have this perfected. The six actresses play all the characters in the narrative expertly, including some dubious middle-aged men and Sister Condom. Backed by a four-piece, all-female band with simple club-like staging, the talented cast deliver note-perfect angelic renditions of Mendelssohn, Bartok and Handel one minute followed by energetic Jeff Lynne classics and Electric Light Orchestra covers the next, coupled with poetic monologues and foul mouthed dialogue.
The stand out performance comes from Dawn Sievewright as Fionnula a feisty party animal who is passionate about her friendships and wants them all to have an amazing night. Finnula goes on a personal journey of discovery throughout the play and by the end of it she’s a very different person. Sievewright tackles the characterisation with great maturity and presence that exceeds her years.
Frances Mayli McGann also delivered particularly stunning vocals throughout in the role of Kylah and Isis Hainsworth’s portrayal of Orla was innocent and beautifully acted.
In short, Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour is quirky, visceral and highly unconventional but ever so refreshing and works perfectly. It is one that should not be missed and absolutely deserves a long, successful run in the West End.
Running Time: 1 hour 45 mins – NO INTERVAL
Age Recommendation: 16+
Reviewer: Alan Stuart Malin
Reviewed: 28th June 2017
Theatre-Geek-Reviews Rating: ★★★★★