By Helen Abbey
Sex, sex, sex and more sex. The Lady in Bed is certainly a show to get the Pulse Fringe Festival racing as it came to Ipswich's Sir John Mills Theatre on Tuesday 10 June 2008.
The Lady In Bed is a production by The Weird Sisters - written and performed by Alison Goldie and directed by Laura Lloyd.
It is truly an unmissable, funny and moving one woman show where the writer/actress portrays herself, her true life adventures and encounters with the opposite sex. The promotional blurb says "You might call her promiscuous if she didn't have such a big heart."
The show is racy and pacy. It is definitely for adults only, but without being offensive.
When she talks about and mimes having sex with her lover, it is done in a manner that seems completely acceptable. It is not done in a titillating fashion.
It's because she has some valid observation to make or because it is part of her story unfolding. There's no nudity.
The script is open and honest, laying bare intimate parts of her life and portraying the intricate complexities of human relationships. It is funny and touching with fabulous, pithy observations on life.
There are a couple of darker, more serious, moments which change the pace and mood, and provide the light and shade for the piece. Intermittently, Alison has conversations with herself when she was a teenager, finally using hypnosis to erase her younger self's memory.
It leads to a beautifully crafted ending where Alison gently comes out of character and talks directly to the audience, utilising the hypnosis theme to bring us out of the intense focus on her, and back to ourselves and our own experiences.
Alison plays an amazing array of characters, male, female, and even several different animals! Her physicality, gestures, accents and voices totally support each of these myriad characters.
Every single one of them is totally believable. She switches from one character to another with ease and conviction.
There is never any doubt or confusion over who she is playing at any given time. Her presence on stage is compelling and very watchable.
In places the definition and drama of the moment is lost due to the timing being a little too fast, but this is a minor consideration that doesn't stop the show from being first class theatre.
Set for sex
The set is minimalist, just one chair and two props, but Alison herself establishes each scene through her considerable acting skills, assisted by the effective use of lighting to change the mood and location. A good choice of incidental music helps to define the changing eras, and her neutral costume gives her a blank canvas on which to project all the characters.
The show has much more substance to it than the publicity (eg "A celebratory odyssey of sex by a woman once termed 'thinking man's crumpet'") leads us to believe. We readily relate to it and recognise times in our own lives when we've been there, done that, and felt that way.
Alison consistently holds the attention of the whole audience. We are totally with her, laughing and sympathising all the way. The Lady In Bed is a brilliant piece of theatre. Thoroughly enjoyable. Shame it was only on for one night. It is worthy of a much longer run.
The Weird Sisters production of Lady In Bed is also at The Cut, Halesworth on Saturday 21 June 2008. Visit The Drama Business website for more details about Alison Goldie.
The Pulse Fringe Festival runs 29 May-14 June 2008 - visit the Pulse Fringe Festival website for full details.
last updated: 11/06/2008 at 15:55
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