Florence Foster Jenkins

Florence Foster Jenkins was an American amateur opera singer under the impression that she was amazingly talented when actually she was really very bad. People went to see her shows for the comedy value and Florence believed the audiences’ laughs were down to jealousy rather than her awful singing. This play follows her in one of her rehearsals for a show with her maid/minion and pianist.

Attention-seeking and flamboyant, she exhibited truly bizarre behaviour.

Foster Jenkins was an eccentric character. Attention-seeking and flamboyant, she exhibited truly bizarre behaviour. This piece did an admirable job of trying to capture her personality, but it doesn’t necessarily translate well to stage. Half the audience loved the wacky humour, the other half (including myself) were lost.

Some parts were universally amusing, such as the very accurate imitation of her terrible singing. Other parts were too obscure to be comedic (for a lot of us) but were still heartily enjoyed by a few audience members. Florence Foster Jenkins is well written, directed and performed, with extremely talented actors and a pianist whose beautiful playing was the highlight of the performance for me. But the piece as a whole delved a little too far into the realm of the bizarre to be appreciated fully by the majority.

While it wasn’t my (and many others’) cup of tea, it is easy to see how an avid theatre goer and fan of more obscure drama would thoroughly enjoy the performance.

Reviews by Anna Pitts

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★★★
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The Blurb

Florence Foster Jenkins was a wealthy eccentric whose greatest quirk was her utter conviction that she was a great singer, in spite of having no sense of rhythm, diction or pitch. Still, audiences clamoured to see her recitals. She appeared unaware that this was purely to laugh. “Practising is for those without talent.” The true story of Florence Foster Jenkins inspired De Koude Kermis to develop a humorous piece about an opera singer without talent. Winner - Best of Fringe, Amsterdam 2012.

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