Very rarely do I come away from a show thinking ‘I wish that had lasted longer’, but with Second Soprano both my companion and I were left wanting more. Following the plight of nurses recruited for the field hospitals of WWI through the story of two sisters, this show is inventive, refreshing and strikes the fine balance between satire of the 1910 music hall traditions and distressing drama.
Written by Ellie Routledge, Martha Shrimpton and Olivia Hurst, the show is performed by Hurst and Shrimpton who are not only talented actresses, but beautiful singers, fabulous comediennes and whip crack sharp improvisers. Despite one or two unexpected interruptions from the set and a pub punter, both actresses took these situations in their stride and displayed outrageous improvisation skills.
Uri Roodner’s direction keeps the energy pumping with the actresses switching seamlessly between the satire and realism that we now associate with pieces exploring WWI. Adding depth and creating an engulfing soundscape is John Cantlow’s sound design. Using a microphone and loop the actresses add layer upon layer of sound to create the atmosphere of a field hospital, farm yard and the trenches, which really enhances the feeling disorientation and confusion of war.
There’s no doubt that this production is a little gem of a show and it shows that Fringe productions have the potential to pack an almighty punch. Routledge, Shrimpton and Hurst have brought an inventive and smart show to life and it would be great to see what would happen if it ran a bit longer as they clearly have the talent, ideas and energy to run with it.
Reviewed by Roz Carter
Photo: Richard Davenport
Second Soprano is playing at the Kings Head Theatre until 4 July 2015. Click here for tickets