Best described as cabaret with some clowning thrown in,
I know it’s not nice to laugh at someone crying, but Scarlet’s heartbroken sob-singing had me in stitches.
The subject matter of a young woman’s first few loves and heartbreaks isn’t particularly novel, but the presentation is, combining excellent physical enactments and some moments of direct address. Her facial expressions and miming skills are great – whether she’s performing an encounter between ex-lovers on public transport, or trying to resist the magnetic pull of The Sexiest Man Alive or emulating sitting in a storm, her fingernails drilling the sounds of rain into the stone of the stage.
Her clowning skills shine, finding gentle humour throughout. I know it’s not nice to laugh at someone crying, but Scarlet’s heartbroken sob-singing had me in stitches. There are no props, no sets, just her body and voice to tell the story and this works particularly well in the intimate space. I hope that, as the piece continues its development, it doesn’t outgrow this.
A highlight of the show is her enactment of that old ‘plenty more fish in the sea’ platitude, except here it’s apples on trees, and Scarlet has quite an appetite for a while, biting and chewing with her mouth full. Wombwell’s original songs, which carry much of the narrative content, are lovely, and her voice is elastic. Her Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong impressions are also worth a listen. Wombwell has created a character that is endearing, funny, and full of humanity.