Nia Williams has created a veritable modern masterpiece called Verity, & she has assembled an extremely talented bunch to solidify her vision on the stage. They are like rich & fertile vineyards flourishing around a deep & entrenched lake. Together they come under the monicker ‘Three Chairs and a Hat,’ & are here in Edinburgh until only the 17th so like a handsome new lover you’ve met on a cruise they get off at the next port of call, there now exists very real pressure to see the show before they flit out of town. Verity is played by Saffi Needham, who has just spent the last year training at Guildford School of Acting, & you can really feel her mix of natural ability & erudition. She possesses a starlight-sparkling voice & also a river of charms, the vital ingredients for a leading lady.
I think one of the most important, and exciting, things that I’ve learned is how much a musical, or any piece of theatre, is the creation of everyone who takes part in staging it Nia Williams
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Nia’s piano playing, fingers like flickering swifts, is also pretty much perfect. The songs she accompanies are a really eclectic bunch, music & melody-wise they meander in style & mood, while Nia’s lyricism is at times pure poetry – she rhymes like a rapper. I think Cocktail City was my favorite, with the psychbabbling facebook song & the motown-inspired ‘A Little Kindness’ finale a close second – altho’ all were quality, there was no weak moment. There are also some quite complex harmonies & voice combinations which come across as if they were more a symphonic orchestra than a vocal ensemble.
Verity has been jilted on her wedding night, & when we meet her she is still addicted to the bliss of love, but wandering blindly in a desert of realisiation. “What are going to do about Verity?” sing the ensemble as she sets off on her descent into drunken party-girl, stalking her ex on social-media mode. Into the action comes a meddling, match-making mother; gossipy office workers & the argumentative Ex – a brilliant mix of music-makers & storylines. If I was a visitor to the Fringe, & I wanted a musical theatre experience of high quality that reflects the influx of talent into Edinburgh – then Verity is the one. A fabulous piece on so many levels.
Damian Beeson Bullen