At first sight it would seem that Boondog Theatre's latest outing at the Edinburgh Fringe is somewhat ironically titled. Transferring from the crate they were packed in at Pleasance last year to the more intimate C Venues space, there is something inappropriate about the title Showmanship when one is being hurried down the corridor of a large hotel to a small box room and seated in front of a basic set up of two chairs, a table and a few candles. Cirque Du Soleil this is not. But through an hour-long monologue the room is transformed into a smoky circus sideshow in Depression-era America and what seems to be a by-the-numbers monolgue piece eventually becomes something much more powerful.

Showmanship turns a poky hotel side room into another world

It does this by utilising the company's greatest strength, the acting of its solo performer Lucy Roslyn. Last year Goody, a two-person show about a man and his trained monkey, featured Roslyn in the latter role displaying a physical transformation to an extreme degree. This year the transformation is less physical and more verbal, as a period-accurate accent is adopted and sustained impressively throughout. The issue with this show is that Roslyn's bewildering acting talent dwarfs both the venue the show is performed in and the quality of the script she is performing.

The story is thin but strong, focusing as it does on a fortune teller who refuses to buy into many of the tricks and illusions of her counterparts but nonetheless acknowledges the falsehoods of her way of living. As she travels with the circus she recounts to the audience notable moments of her life, weaving them together with an explanation of how she does business and what sets her apart from her competition. The issue comes with a lack of progression as Roslyn paints a beautiful picture but for a long time fails to give it a third dimension. Relying more on establishing tone than developing story, it is easy to imagine one losing focus in the middle section of this show.

However, for any fans of emotional powerhouse acting, Showmanship is the place to look. Once the show pulls its loose threads together in the final third, the performer finally gets the opportunity to really show off her range and it pays off. The perfect blend of darkly comic, brutally emotional and bitterly cynical, Showmanship's beating heart is put on full display through the eyes of Lucy Roslyn. Though the middle third of the story lacks somewhat in emotion and falls a little into repetition, as a pure display of acting it is worth the wait. Showmanship is the ability to transform the mundane into the magical, turning a hat and a rabbit into a magic trick and so on. Showmanship turns a poky hotel side room into another world and a solid but flawed monologue into an emotional tour-de-force.

Reviews by Charlie Ralph

The Stand Comedy Club / The Stand’s New Town Theatre

Josie Long: Tender

Pleasance Dome



Working On My Night Moves

Pleasance Courtyard

The Rebirth of Meadow Rain

Underbelly, Cowgate

Tokyo Rose

Pleasance Courtyard

Lucy McCormick: Post Popular


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.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

‘You want hope? Make me an offer.' 1935: a two-bit circus travels Dust Bowl America. Desperate townspeople need hope but, when the fortune teller names her price, what'll they be willing to pay? But is she an oracle, or just another charlatan? Darkly funny psychological thriller, laced with poignancy and devilry, from the multi award-winning BoonDog Theatre. Written and performed by Lucy Roslyn. From creators of The State vs John Hayes, Argus Angel Artistic Excellence award-winner 2015: ‘Utterly brilliant’ ***** (Brighton Argus). ‘Astonishing’ **** (Stage). Acclaim for Goody, Les Enfants Terribles’ Greenwich Partnership award-winner 2017: ‘Incredible theatre’ ***** (

Most Popular See More

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Mousetrap

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Frozen the Musical

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £54.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets