Are There More of You?
'I love magic
Even though I know I am being fooled and that the lady hasn’t really been sawn in half or the playing card is only hidden behind the magician’s hand, I still love to watch it happen.
Looking around the audience at the Colombier Theatre at the latest FET production, I am clearly not alone.
Allison Skilbeck performed the actors version of sleight of hand ….in plain sight of the audience, during her latest offering “….are there more of you”. With the mere change of a cardigan or a pair of shoes she seemed to physically change before our eyes.
It is a gift that not all actors possess and the stage presence between the four characters was startling. Not because of the obvious difference between hard as nails sales director Sam (who I hope one day “finds Bournemouth again”) and slightly flaky spirit weaver Sara, but because of the clever use of minimal props and stagecraft that moved the eye around the stage and created a different environment for each of the characters.
The show itself ties four women’s stories together. Claire the jilted ex-wife of a diplomat with the “ever so slightly too buttoned” up fragility, Sophia the Italian/ south London café owner with big plans and the aforementioned Sara and Sam.
They share more than just a post code (SW11) as their tales demonstrate how outside factors have contributed to them gently but inexorably unravelling. Outward solidity and happiness are carefully peeled away to reveal variously, deceit, disappointment and sadness both at themselves and, at times, the world around them.
Please do not misread this to mean that the show was in the slightest bit gloomy - this was comedic acting at it very best as Ms Skilbeck segued seamlessly from role to role and we were able to all delight in the changes that take place as each character became more and more honest with us.
In the case of Claire it is the cut glass accented Tourette’s, Sara’s blank eyed vengeful witchcraft and Sam finding that there is happiness without prosecco and pre-planted out door bidets.
Only in the case of Sophia, around whose trattoria the characters are orbiting, were we left wondering if there would ever be life enhancing change………certainly not whilst “La Mama” is still alive.
This is Allison Skilbeck’s second visit to La Colombier following on from her excellent “Mrs Roosevelt” and the chatter in the bar post performance suggests that the Tarn would be very glad to see her back again soon.'