Slice is Mel Giedroyc’s debut play, a story based around cake, three sisters and their dying mother. These three women are extremely different and are only suddenly bought together in the house of Victoria, the middle sister, as their mother’s death becomes imminent. It is soon obvious why it has been so long since the sisters all convened. As a voiceover guides us through step by step how to make the perfect Victoria Sponge; tales of regrets, secrets, lies and buried memories all come to the surface and we learn why each sister has turned out the way they have – an obsessive compulsive who’s been the mother’s sole carer for nine years, a carb-free zone who moved to LA years ago and a family fanatic who has her children still ‘attached to her mammaries.’
The play is a delightful mix of laugh out loud comedic moments, flashes of particularly dark humour and also underlying feelings of sorrow and pain. Victoria, played by Lesley Hart with pure conviction and strength. Hart demonstrates built up anger from many years of having to look after her mother, down to every last frantic stir of the mixing bowl, we feel like we are looking into her heart. A poignant re-telling of memories from a tenth birthday is a high point of the show. Hart monologues in an enchanting and extremely engaging way, conveying childhood innocence and upset at having a birthday ruined.
The two other actresses work so well with Hart, building up a convincing sisterly dynamic as we found out the only thing the oldest and youngest sister have in common is the youngest sister’s husband. The subtleties in the character work are so well done, but these are lost in parts where I feel they sometimes could turn into caricatures. These moments are rare however and could easily be ironed out.
All in all, the piece is charming, witty and extremely engaging. Down to every last detail in the set of the fully functioning kitchen, the audience are pulled into the stories of these women’s life. Definitely worth a watch, a sterling first effort from Gieroyc, executed by three fine actresses with passion and touching sentiment.