Perfidious Lion

Some shows stick in your head even if they are flawed. Sometimes the flaws actually add to why you enjoyed it. Perfidious Lion, the new hour from writer and actor Bettine Mackenzie, is such a show.

If you're planning to be an actor you’ll have to see this show

Bettine plays Lucinda, a classic landed gentry falling on hard times. She’s hosting a dinner party but when the guests arrive, the kicker is we can’t see or hear them. It’s a solo show so all we see is Lucinda talking and her reactions, and it works well - most of the time. The writing is competent and any lazy plot twists or reveals are thankfully avoided. But it’s Bettine’s acting that really holds it together. If you are planning to be an actor you’ll have to see this show: it’s a complete masterclass.

There is minimal use of tech, mostly just subtle audio but as things move along more music comes into play. There is a moment just about halfway through that really plays with audience expectations, which manages to be both funny and weirdly unnerving.

Ultimately the show has two flaws that hold it back. It’s difficult to care about Lucinda, maybe for those that have met or know people like her it might work a bit better, but I had no reason to care for or be interested in the character. Yes, it’s a character study and they don’t have to be likeable, but I felt no more or less affection for the character when it started than when it ended.

One woman talking to an entire party doesn’t really sustain an hour. It’s interesting and that really is a big part of the charm but you never really start to believe there is a whole host of characters in the room with her. The point might be just to focus on a woman, and show how she’s alone even among people, but without playing with the idea more, this starts to wear a bit thin. Despite this, it’s definitely worth your time - flaws and all.

Reviews by James W. Woe

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The Blurb

Lucinda knows this party needs to be a success. As well as commemorating her wealthy husband's untimely death, it's a good way to encourage some desperately needed philanthropy. Having already sold the billiards table, she can't bear to see the silver go. Worse still, the bridge club is threatening to cancel her membership. Reality is seeping in through the blinds faster than one can fix the moth holes. Can she prevent it from exposing the truth? A new solo show from writer/performer Bettine Mackenzie. 'A joy to watch' (Scotsman). 'Absorbing' (Stage). 'Extremely talented' (