Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Olive Copperbottom

As the comedy festival comes to a close, we took in our last show of the festival. Again, a performer that we’d seen before, in the shape of Penny Ashton. Last year we saw her produce Promise and Promiscuity, in collaboration with Jane Austen. This time round, she’d teamed up with Charles Dickens to create a new musical, Olive Copperbottom.

We went to dinner first at Portlander. This is the (mainly) steak restaurant in the Wellington Rydges hotel, and I’ve been there a couple of times before and found their burgers to be tasty during WOAP. In the evening they’re a bit pricey, but we were armed with our Entertainment discount to bring things down to a more manageable level. The food was good (but not brilliant) and the service distinctly dodgy. And I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who thinks this place has gone downhill somewhat. I don’t think I’ll be in a hurry to go back.

Olive Copperbottom is a one-woman show performed at the Circa Theatre. The evening’s audience was a little on the small side, and we were encouraged to sit in the first two rows of the smaller, Circa 2, auditorium. No matter. We were in the front row, and were often called upon to respond, although (fortunately) not to actively participate in the show. The story revolves around orphan Olive and her adventures in the orphanage, her career on the stage after leaving said orphanage, and the discovery of who she really is. In this respect, very much like a lot of Dickens’ other plots. Naturally, there’s singing and dancing, and topical references thrown in for good measure. The characters’ names also follow Dickensian tradition, with Mrs. Scabbybits being a particular standout.

At the end of the show she exhorted us to tell all our friends about it, and also publicised her fridge magnets for sale in the foyer (“you’ll have to walk past me to get out”, she told us). But we didn’t need the hard sell as wanted them anyway, to add to our collection from last year.

Penny is taking Promise And Promiscuity to the UK later in the year, so all my UK readers (both of you) please take a look at her website and see if there’s a show near you! If you’re a Londoner (and maybe it’s because I am one), then the Greenwich Theatre is the place to go.

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