City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Dear Mr! Review

By Kenneth Scott - Posted on 22 August 2009

Dear Mr!
Show details
Big Face Theatre
Running time: 
Rachael Boulton (writer / director), Peter Twose (writer).
Rachael Boulton (Ruth), Peter Twose (all others).

This is a sweet little tale, told in a series of monologues in an endearing, almost, over-the-garden-fence style by Ruth - a forty-something who is coming to terms with a less than fulfilling life.

We first meet Ruth as an excitable teenager about to venture out of the deep Welsh valleys to go on holiday to the almost unimaginably remote and romantic Butlins.  And amorous it proves, as she falls for a Michael Jackson impersonator (albeit with blue eyes and ginger hair).

Thirty or so years on we are looking back over a life shared with her never present husband Roger.  It's an existence that has seen her in a safe, reliable, comfortable role - but within her there is a spark of a wild woman who wants to wear naughty underwear.  Perhaps then Roger won't take her for granted and she can lure him away from the Dave channel and its endless re-runs of Top Gear.

She decides on her own reality TV solution as she marks up her body up for a 10 Years Younger medical vacation.  The passage of time, however, runs more than skin deep and there are decisions to be made about relationships as her past catches up with her.  The conclusion draws a veil over her past, but offers a hint that she may reclaim lost parts of her life.

It's an engaging new piece of theatre, which uses gentle humour rather than cheap gags.  The clothesline set is inspired and allows inventive use of props, scenes of "shadow-puppetry" and helps the action flow.  The performances are professional and Boulton manages a credible aging with little more than a dressing gown.

While it's entertaining, Ruth could be fleshed out (liposuction notwithstanding) into a fuller character and the drama of her hidden past strengthened.  There is probably something of an uncomfortable truth in here for me as a forty-something Top Gear viewer.  A little flicker of rebellion in me wanted her to run off and join Torchwood - but that's a different story.

Times: 17-22 and 24-29 August, 2.05pm.