'Get yourself an oil-based boyfriend'. If there was ever a piece of advice to take forward into the remainder of 2018, this would be one of the best.
If more TV shows panned out like Vibrantly Lieu, I daresay their ratings would increase faster than Neve's alcohol content.
Written by and starring Gemma Jones, Vibrantly Lieu: Welcome to the PVC Shopping Channel tells the sloppy-drunk rise, fall and rise again of Neve, a young woman desperate to become a shopping channel star. Landing a job with skincare brand Vibrantly Lieu, she is pumped to make her debut until her boyfriend of four dates and five sleepovers dumps her minutes before she goes on air. What follows is Neve's spectacular unravelling on live TV fuelled by lovesick bitterness and, crucially, wine. Unfortunately, very few people were in to see the madness unfold.
Dressed in a hot pink suit, Neve chatters away to her boss Alexandra and desperately seeks her approval, while Alexandra (played with lofty arrogance by Victoria Welsh) taps on her phone and frets (glamorously, mind you) over pressure to sell all of their stock to please their investors. Rebecca Cutts stepped into the role of smarmy (award winning, lest we forget) shopping channel veteran Emily Lively and was convincing throughout as she desperately tried to pull together a show that was rapidly falling apart.
There were heaps of genuinely funny moments throughout the play, most notably Neve's precarious lotus position meditation session on a stool and her bitter analogies linking beauty products and disappointing boyfriends. Scene changes were smoothed over with a wonderfully tacky intro to the PVC Shopping Channel. Overall the piece felt more like an extended sketch rather than an entire play, and while Neve's descent into inebriated chaos on live TV was very funny, there needed to be a little more story around that as the comedy of the situation did begin to lose steam as the conclusion brought the story to a slightly abrupt end.
The reasons behind the high number of empty seats was unclear; overall the quality of the production was high, a lot of effort seemed to have been put in to marketing the show's Brighton Fringe run, and perhaps it was just the lure of the summer sunshine on the beach two minutes away that robbed the show of its audience. However, the small turn out wasn't a reflection on the quality of the show, and it didn't deter any of the cast. The show went ahead full steam and without a single hitch.
Vibrantly Lieu: Welcome to the PVC Shopping Channel is a witty production that is definitely deserving of a larger audience. If more TV shows panned out like Vibrantly Lieu... I daresay their ratings would increase faster than Neve's alcohol content.