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The Fundraiser

Salutation Hotel, Perth
Four stars
In the banqueting hall of the oldest hotel in Scotland, a very special
event is about to take place. The party tunes are playing, and the
stage is swathed in sparkly scarlet tinsel designed to match the oh-so
OTT outfits of our glamorous auctioneers, Tina and Rachel. They are
here to raise money, spirits and a smile for Tina's heroic
cross-channel swim following a near brush with death after an asthma
attack.

Once the audience have been escorted to their tables with bidding cards
and raffle tickets in hand, what follows in Robert Jack's production of
Lesley Hart's new play at first looks like a kitsch and slightly camp
dissection of the toe-curling spectacle which a well-meaning but
misguided fund-raising event can easily end up as. The bad gags, rictus
grins and awkwardly staged amateur hour routines are all grotesque
enough in the hands of the double act of Sally Reid as Tina and Claire
Knight as Rachel in something which initially resembles a Saturday
Night Live style satirical routine.

When the pair are upstaged by an uninvited guest while the supposed
special guest star fails to show, however, the stakes are cranked up
considerably for a troubling piece of dark comedy made all the more
effective by its deliberate localism in this contribution to Perth
Theatre's Out and About programme. Reid and Knight, accompanied by a
blousy Libby McArthur, provide a perfect balance of light and shade in
Hart's blackly comic look at familial dysfunction. If it doesn't quite
know how to end things yet, no matter. This can easily be developed
once Jack's production is hopefully revived to play function rooms
across the land.

The Herald, November 10th 2014


ends
 

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