The Bearded Lady
May 7 – 17
It’s February 13, the eve of that awkward date, and single girl Sophie is facing another lonely Valentine’s Day of flowers from her well-meaning mother. Being a bit of a bogan Bridget Jones-esque cliché she lives on gin, ice-cream and Sex and the City … she even has a collection of cats. As she wallows in her world of dateless misery, she reflects that maybe it has something to do with the day’s timing, for traversing the gift gauntlet of Christmas, her January birthday and then the big V Day is going to put strain on any relationship. This year, however, things turn out a little bit differently thanks to an initially anonymous and ultimately intriguing delivery of flowers and subsequent reunion. And from there we see Sophie’s story fast-tracked as she manically shares her resulting relationship tales, making inventive use of her stage’s sparse arrangement of set pieces.
As Sophie, Kaitlyn Rogers delivers an engaging, energetic performance. Her exaggerated emotions, melodramatic reactions and spontaneous dance moves deliver many laughs. And although the show begins more like a monologue, her emerging characterisation of all range of support roles, adds further comedy to what is otherwise quite a laden narrative, telling as it does of her acceptance of employment in exchange for sexual favour and relationship with her bastard boss. Thankfully, feminism of some form at least prevails in the end.
“V.D.” has obviously had much development since it appeared as part of the Short and Sweet Festival in 2011, however its pacing and structure still require some attention; the transition between phases lacks purpose and her ongoing endorsement of misogyny through her own actions seems at odds with its hasty, convenient coda. As it is, however, it is perfect for a venue such as West End’s The Bearded Lady. It starts casually with audience members sharing pre-show Sophie-selfies with its effervescent protagonist. And ultimately, although she might make some unwise life choices, we cannot help but warm to her daggy zest for life. And with her ‘unlucky in love but ultimately hopeful’ outlook on life at its core, the one-woman show can hopefully continue from strength to comic strength.
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Photo c/o – Stuart Hirth