Review by Carmel Shortall
Arabella Housewares takes her revenge on all and sundry but especially poor little Veronica Crabapple, her friend from the nunnery whose mother (or, at least, the woman who stole her from Tosco’s carpack) keeps her in a muzzle. After feeding Veronica with strawberry berry jello through her muzzle, Arabella also feeds her Teddy’s and Powder Pink Pussy Puppet’s eyes. Understandably Teddy and Powder Pink Pussy Puppet are not too happy about this and exact their own revenge in due course.
Now that Veronica believes she is an eighty-seven-year-old man named Vanessa Feltz and been confined to a psychiatric unit, her doctors fancy a night out in the West End at the Dominion Theatre enabling Arabella’s Revenge to have a play within a play: it’s called The Batty Man and the Orange Juice Monster. Princess Margaret plays the Batty Man and Kevin Spacey plays the Orange Juice Monster. It’s all good clean fun.
So, Arabella’s Revenge is not a realistic play. Instead, Derek Elwood and Sarah Ratheram, as both writers and performers, have used their considerable talents in physical theatre, clowning and bouffant(where the word buffoon comes from) to portray an exaggerated and grotesque suburban world. And, as is traditional with bouffant, this nightmare world is held up as a mirror to our own. Or not.
Derek Elwood and Sarah Ratheram play the 20-odd characters in Arabella’s Revenge with obvious relish and minimum props (only red jelly, edible eyeballs and a blanket). Sarah Ratheram, in particular, leaps and twists about the stage, gurning and stretching her mouth horribly as the muzzled Veronica.
Unfortunately, you can no longer see Arabella’s Revenge at The Camden Head as its short run on the Fringe is over but keep a look out for The Dark Bar and perhaps Arabella’s Revenge will appear again.