SWEETHEARTS AND BODYPARTS
Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh
August, 2002

*** The perils of not having an audience to work off

This Country-and-Western parody would be worth four stars if they'd had enough people in the house to give them the atmosphere they need.

One of the more sad and frustrating Edinburgh Fringe phenomena is the experience of sitting in a show that you really like, wanting to laugh out loud and applaud, but realising that you're in a small and reticent audience, and if you gave the show the responses it actually deserves you'd end up paradoxically disconcerting both punters and performers. This was very much the case when I saw this show, and by all accounts is something the talented female trio have been undeservedly suffering from for much of their run.

The conceit is that we are watching a concert by three C&W stars. The bitchy by-play works well Alys Torrance is particularly good at admitting that little bit too much of her character's unsavoury past. The songs are acutely observed genre parodies, with accomplished harmonies sometimes just a touch too sweet for country music. The discreet line of narrative is well plotted and not overdone. But through it all, one can feel the three women struggling to generate the atmosphere they really need for such a late-night hootenanny with an audience barely into double figures. But don't be put off: go, and give them the warm response they need and merit.

Written for divento.com

Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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