Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Theatre Review: 'Edges', Montgomery Theatre, (17/3/2013)

Put four young women onto the stage with a pianist, bassist and drummer - what do you expect? Drama. And these four ladies with their somewhat relatable tales pour out life's little dramas through the medium of 15 comedic songs - for one night only.

The show kicks off with Becky (Ashleigh Jones) confessing her insecurities to 'The Woman's Support Socialisation and Friendship Group of New York': "Stock shelves and daydream of a scheme to rob the store." This song, titled 'Become' introduces each of the characters in this confessional manner. Hayley (Emily Keston) is a 20-year-old devout Christian on the pursuit of love. Caitlin (Bethan Ratcliffe), who is Hayley's older sister, has suffered a series of messy relationships but is settling down with Joanna (Katie Laurence), a 25-year-old law graduate.

The scorning looks thrown at Caitlin from Hayley during the first number was enough to hint at their sisterhood is strained. This becomes even clearer in 'Caitlin and Hayley' as the two bitterly judge each others life choices. As the two attempt to reconcile their differences with the final 'I want my sister back' lyric, the audience are already clear of the obvious divide between the two sisters. 

This divide - Hayley as the goodie-two-shoes and Caitlin as the loose cannon - is portrayed well in this show, particularly in 'Man of my dreams'. As the two sisters are trying to make amends, Hayley calls Caitlin about the new man she's dating. She loves their "respectable dates" to the theatre, and his self-awareness over his image - Caitlin responds with: "He's gay, he's gay, he's definitely gay." The different levels of innocence is clear through the music, but the actresses expressions make it all the more obvious - and funnier. 

Hayley's relationship with her gay boyfriend falls apart by the end of the play, going through the stage of desperation to keep it going with 'Perfect' and choosing to leave him with 'Lying there'. Her powerful voice, coming from such a small, innocent character, tastefully places a sense of reality into the story.

Caitlin and Joanna's relationship also falls apart through this musical, from struggling to say that they love each other and questioning their relationship, to ending it with the song 'In Short' working the stomach muscles of those with dark humour. A song, it must be noted, that actress Bethan Ratcliffe executed superbly.
"Take a warm bath with a plugger in toaster. 
In short, I really hope you die."

Completely unrelated to all the other three women in the group is Becky, who dreams of becoming an inventor. Given her characters lack of connection to the other three women, actress Ashleigh Jones showcased Becky as the dark horse of the show. Confronting the reason for her fathers desertion with 'One reason' and expressing her love of inventing in 'Fearlessly' through stunning vocals, the audience's first impression of Becky as a ditzy character is quickly overshadowed.

The best parts of the show, as expected, were the group numbers. 'Be my friend', a song all about facebook, was perfectly choreographed for the audience to almost drown them out with laughter. It was clear when they were all together why Funny You Should Ask, who were responsible for this production, chose this cast. 

The crowd erupted with cheers as the characters sang out their final notes. It was certainly a show that could have continued for nights on end and still had bums on seats. 

For the next Funny You Should Ask show, we'll be planting ourselves on the front row (again).

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