Our Ladies Of Perpetual Succour won the 2017 Olivier Award for Best New Comedy earlier this year, tying in nicely with it’s West End transfer after a sell out run at the National Theatre. The show has opened at the Duke Of York’s Theatre and is receiving huge critical acclaim but is proving a little too much for some theatregoers to handle.
The show is performed by six Scottish schoolgirls who recall a twenty four hour period where they went on a wild night out of sex, booze and debauchery on a school trip. It shows a side of women that we don’t see portrayed that often. These girls are anything but prim and proper and no mother would be proud to call these girls their daughter. But under the surface of the brash exteriors, are six young women that everyone can relate to.
All the girls here are stars in their own right. Caroline Deyga as Chell, Karen Fishwick as Kay, Isis Hainsworth (Orla) and Kirsty MacLauren (Manda) all give brilliant performances and each character is totally different. Frances Mayli McCann (Kylah) seems to have the smallest part in the show and blends in to the background a little during the second half which is a shame as she is a tour de force when she is at the forefront of the group. Dawn Sievewright is the star performer as Fionnula. She is vile, confrontational and not the kind of girl you would want to get on the wrong side of!
The rock music by ELO is fun, with the girls jumping around all over the place but it was hard to understand what they were saying at times due to the loudness of it all. The stand out song was the slow finale Many Rivers To Cross, which showcased the girls beautiful voices and harmonies. Intertwining ELO’s rock songs with classical music such as Mendelssohn, Bartok and Handel is an interesting idea that is explored in this show.
At an hour and forty five minutes, the show does feel quite long and could use an interval. Speaking to the cast in rehearsals a few weeks ago, they did mention adding a break in and it is a shame that idea was scrapped as people did start to fidget after an hour or so.
I was surprised to see four separate couples get up and walk out of the show on the night I went to see it. The show certainly will be too crude and explicit for some theatre goers but I think the shock factor is what the writers were going for here. Yes, it’s not nice to watch and we don’t want to believe that girls act this way but they truth is they do.
Not for everyone and not an easy show to watch but Our Ladies Of Perpetual Succour is brilliantly acted and well worth seeing if you think you can stomach it!
Reviewed by West End Wilma
Our Ladies Of Perpetual Succour plays at Duke Of York’s Theatre until 2 September 2017. Book tickets
Photo: Manuel Harlan