Sid and Valerie

All singing, all dancing, all Werther’s bearing Sue MacLaine and Emma Kilbey bring to the Fringe their characters Sid and Valerie Lester. With a show that is high on variety but low on delivery, they tap, croon and argue through their hour long performance.

Both MacLaine and Kilbey are excellent in their performance. MacLaine dodders around stage whilst also retaining the slightly self-involved if not intentionally mean nature that many men of Sid's generation are like. Kilbey's rendition of the resentful daughter is also ably done with many a sideways look and bitter comment. The show feels rough and not so much lacking in polish but more in star power. All the different variety acts that Sid and Valerie put on go just a little bit wrong but I think that is part of the whole show, playing into the clear bitterness between the two.

The show also has a dark comedic element to it that really helps to add an extra dimension to the relationship that is at the core of the show. Whether it’s Sid constantly volunteering Valerie for evermore impressive acrobatic feats or Valerie’s array of hand-held fans that keep her cool during her dad's tangential reminiscing, it all weaves together to flesh out these two unique characters. Further comedy is also provided by Sid's rather deadpan comments that he makes throughout the show.

Whilst the show had a definite pace and style to it, there were too often just lulls in the show where interest could certainly wane. I can appreciate that good character acting of a reminiscing man require him to reminisce frequently but too often it felt like these stories followed a set recipe: name random entertainer from yesteryear, add theatrical location, mix in a dash of Sid's disappointment at a possible break missed. It all just felt a bit formulaic.

Sid and Valerie is a show that holds a definite level of intrigue and looks at some important familial issues along the way. Dark, funny and often surreal if at times a little dull.

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Performances

The Blurb

Old time vaudevillian Sid Lester, resentfully assisted by daughter Valerie, attempts to entertain. Sid is influenced by Kantor and Cooper, Valerie by Bassey. Toffees, balloons, talking birds, a raffle, special guests. Packed lunches welcome.

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