By Carmel Shortall
The lights come up, birds twitter agreeably and a bright, plummy BBC-style voice over, straight from your childhood, announces, “Isn’t the garden a lovely place to be … let’s meet some of the garden people! There’s one over there. Look at her funny walk!”
It’s Eve – a sour-faced, black-clad gardener dragging her rake around the Garden of Eden, dancing for visitors and filching the odd apple – oh dear! Eve gets the boot and finds herself cast out from the garden naked, but for her flesh-coloured body suit, two stick-on fig leaves and an optional pair of knickers with gloriously excessive wire wool ‘pubes’ stuck to the front.
Thus begin the adventures of Eve or Scanticlad, as she sets off into the world (and the audience) to meet the war-mongering Bony Liar; the glamourous dowager, Dow Jones (geddit!) and others too deranged to mention. Eventually Scanticlad dies – from eating a poisoned apple, wouldn’t you know – and is re-admitted to the garden and her old job – there is that company car to consider after all. As for the rest of us – our applications to live in the garden have been denied. “Take your litter with you. Good night!”
Wine was spilt, shoes were sniffed and toy animals were harmed in the making of this show. Trained in Lecoq based physical theatre, writer and performer Philippa Hambly is a force of nature: she seems to be possessed by her characters rather than simply playing them. Dow Jones in her dressing gown, blue turban and matching blue flippers making her way to the stage from the back of Moors Bar Theatre manages to extract maximum tension from the proceedings.
A very physical performance as might be expected, and a fair degree of audience mangling, which might not, the PAIN & STRIFE of the BOURGEOIS Life teeters on the brink of insanity. Co-devised with Inda Pereda, this is one of the most energetic one-woman shows on the Fringe. It continues its Camden Fringe run for its final performance tonight at the Moors Bar Theatre, 57 Park Road, Crouch End. Starts 9.15pm and tickets are £9 (concs £7).