This is a show that is relentlessly entertaining, frequently moving, and holds characters whose stories will stay with you long after the curtain falls.
The real draw of the show lies in the performances of the six actors. They are all extremely skilled. Each plays their own role, but also a host of other characters as they transform themselves into the various shady people they meet on their adventures. Kirsty MacLaren gives an extremely endearing performance as love-interest Chopper, and Frances Mayli McCann is surprisingly sinister as the man who gives them money for the bus. All this in addition to the fact that each member of the cast can really sing. The vocal numbers are an absolute delight.
In this cast of stars, Karen Fishwick as Kay and Dawn Sievewright as Fionulla shine the most brightly. Fishwick is extremely versatile, taking on about four different roles in the first ten minutes and managing to be absolutely convincing in all of them. Sievewright gives an extremely emotive performance, and brings a quiet humour and pathos to her role that transforms it into something absolutely heartbreaking.
Lee Hall's adaptation of the original novel attempts to do justice to each of the characters by giving everyone their own complete story and moment to shine. This is quite understandable in such a strongly ensemble show, but the result is a play that tries to do too much. Each of the six characters has some kind of story, and about three of these stories are such huge, dramatic tales that it becomes a bit much to have them all jammed into the same play. One alone would be dramatic. Three looks like melodrama.
Aside from this minor quibble, however, this is a show that is relentlessly entertaining, frequently moving, and holds characters whose stories will stay with you long after the curtain falls.