Gilded Balloon Teviot – Sportsmans
Aug 10-12, 14-27 (13:45)
Two clothes stands occupy either side of the stage as the spotlights rise on an empty stage; to the left hangs a black sequinned and feathered coat; to the right, a coral-pink gown and pearled head-dress. These are faded but once-beautiful clothes for beautiful people, reminiscent of vaudeville from years ago. Into the spotlight bustles Sheryl (with an S), theatre manager and the first of a brood of splintered tragi-comic characters brought to life to tell the story of Alfie, the male half of comedy duo Grace and Alfie. Only, Alfie is transitioning into the beautiful, female performer Zora de Rosie. Along with every birth, it seems, there has to be a little death. So say goodbye to Grace, and goodbye to Grace and Alfie.
Katie Reddin-Clancy has penned a poignant, intricate show that explores gender, performance and personal identity. The writing is beautiful: at times haunting and poetic, at times as wittily sharp as a tailor’s tack. The story unfolds through the characters’ narratives, skipping backwards and forwards in time and, seen from different viewpoints, builds to the emergence of Zora de Rosie (echoic of Homer’s Rosey Fingered Dawn?). Building up to Zora’s debut we are introduced to characters Alfie and Grace have met along the way; Anna Clamber, power-hungry theatrical agent; Audrey, a debut stand-up in a regional backwater town theatre. There’s some deliciously observed character comedy here, and aperçu one-liners aplenty. Look out for grande debutante with a space on her dance-card for a spot of something risqué !
Grace is a high-reaching, mesmerising and witty piece of comedy theatre. Reddin-Clancy’s performance is powerful, intelligent and funny. Go see this show for laughs and food for thought.