The audience for 'Natasha Wood, Rolling With Laughter' owe a considerable
debt to Wood's parents, who clearly equipped her with a large share of her
mother's 'Double D for determination' , ensuring that although her incurable
genetic disease Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), confines her to a wheelchair, it
can't curtail her obvious appetite for enjoyment and experience.Her one-woman
show proves a unique experience, of which the enjoyment seems as much Wood's as
From her Nottingham childhood, a twin offspring with her brother Julian
(similarly affected), helping her parents with their market trading in ladies
underwear, Wood's sheer and simple lust for life shines through her rapid-fire
tales of family holidays, battling her way into drama college, falling in love
and working for the BBC. Taking us through the ups and downs of these decades
of living, Natasha Wood's irrepressible good humour. pluck and quiet grit keep
the audience fully engaged throughout the light and shade of this impressively
empowering piece of theatre.
Apparently inspired by email diaries home to friends and family, from the
United States, where Wood now largely lives and works, 'Rolling With Laughter'
covers large parts of her life, and includes the most believable non-appearing
dog this reviewer has encountered. Wood plays all the other characters in this
piece, including bureaucratic social workers, New York cab drivers, her parents
and former husband - a considerable tour de force of characterisation which
would make this show worthwhile for these vignettes alone. Wood's inimitable
take on those around her enriches their portrayal through her sharp, sparky
sense of their underlying humour.
It's hard (and a little unfair) to find fault with 'Rolling With Laughter', and any minor glitches of an opening night will assuredly be ironed
out by the time this review is published. For those with an hour to spare
during the busy traffic of the Fringe, 'Rolling With Laughter' is
unquestionably worth both the time and money.
Dates August 1-12, 14-16, 17-19, 21-27