Polly Peculiar

Polly Peculiar, at Greenside Nicholson Square, is a joy from beginning to end: the sort of play that under normal circumstances you might not be tempted to see. But this is the Fringe, where it’s easy to stretch the boundaries and take a risk, which is precisely what you should do with this delightful show.

Highly imaginative, poetic work

It’s billed as ‘an absurdist, comedic story’, which is the formal, theatrical way of saying it’s bonkers. Clues to this are inherent in the styles and works that have influenced its creation: clowning from Gecko’s Time of Your Life and Caryl Churchill’s fragmented writing in The Striker. But Polly Peculiar is an original work from the pen of Rose Wilson that takes us into a sort of Alice in Wonderland world in which we can look upon the antics and hear the musings of Polly G.Tips as she holds her tea party.

The table is set with the essential teapots, cups and saucers from a bygone age, featuring, in particular, the Staffordshire-style pot in the shape of a house. There is a chair for Polly and two empty ones for the invisible guests in her imagination; an opportunity for the mind to wander in speculation as to who or what they might be. Polly engages with them, pours tea into their mouths and plays the perfect hostess. In an increasingly physical piece of theatre fantasy, she reassembles items on the floor, moves them around and has conversations with two tiny dolls from one of her pots. It’s all done very delicately and she looks delightful in her floral frock.

There are deeper themes which underpin the amusing facade. Here is a woman dealing with issues of mental stability and hyper fixation with a childish staccato voice that suggests repressed development. Despite her belief in the power of her favourite drink, these are not going to be solved by just another cup of tea.

Meanwhile, we can pour ourselves into this highly imaginative, poetic work and enjoy being a guest at one of the quirkiest tea parties ever held.

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Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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The Blurb

There's something peculiar about Polly. She's one spoonful short of a tea party with her staccato speaking, frantic physicality and tiny tea guests. But is trouble brewing in the teapot? Rose Wilson is a West Midlands and North West-based theatre-maker, director and writer who specializes in quirky, queer, and captivating performances exploring the lives of fascinating characters. Part of a showcase of work by graduates of the University of Worcester's Integrated Masters in Touring Theatre, which gives students the opportunity to develop the skills and experience to create and tour their own work.

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