What: Drowning in Veronica Lake
Where: Dance Studio, Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts
When: June 22, 23
Reviewed by: Gail Pittaway
Perfectly titled, paced and pitched to reflect the rise and fall of a real Hollywood icon, the performance by Alex Ellis as Veronica Lake is simply stunning – a triumph of voice and nuance. Especially when you consider she's drowning in booze and physically imprisoned by the glamorous gown that locks her into position for the duration of the play. Written by Ellis' partner in Flaxworks Theatre Company, Phil Ormsby, the script gives Ellis many opportunities to show her vocal range in Veronica's sultry voice and those of many others trailing in her wake or bobbing about in the gin sea with her.
Directed by Simon Coleman, its many shifts in mood and person are superbly timed technically with lighting changes and sound shifts to mark the milestones in this tawdry tragedy. However, it is also very funny, both in the one-liners expected of such a blonde bobbed broad, but also in that variety of characters, despite it being a solo performance. We meet her whining Brooklyn-based mother who sued her, two of her husbands, and hear far too little of her children. The deepest tragedy is that Veronica just loves the booze and that's why she's drowning.
By the time this review goes to print the FUEL festival season will be over in Hamilton but watch out for it: they'll raise Veronica up from the lake again.
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