Skip to main content

Being Liza

Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh
Three stars

Life is a cabaret of a largely unglamorous kind for Frances Edwards, the small town girl with stars in her eyes in Rachel Flynn’s new play. As she puts on top hat and a smile to shimmy her way through her Liza Minnelli tribute act around Scotland’s civic hall circuit, Frances is accompanied on piano by her overbearing dad Pete, who has been pushing his daughter to succeed ever since her mother ditched them. Enter stage left accountant and would-be crooner Tony, who provides a distraction for Frances, while she quietly makes plans to see the world on her own terms.

With Flynn herself playing Frances in Ryan Alexander Dewar’s production for the new Interabang company at the latest Formation festival of grassroots theatre, this is a double-edged sword of a show. As with the likes of The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, it lays bare the domestic and back-stage nitty-gritty while also showcasing its leading lady’s own talents as a showbiz diva.

This is something Flynn takes full advantage of over the play’s hour-long length, one minute sparring with Pete as any father and daughter might, the next belting out sparkly Liza Minnelli classics with chutzpah and pizazz. Both James Keenan as Pete and Benjamin Story as Tony act as perfect foils for Frances, high-kicking her way through things even as she learns to stand on her own two feet.

While things might easily be fleshed out in terms of colouring in what became of Frances’ mother, as it stands it has a well-rooted understanding of Hollywood style fables absorbed from Sunday afternoon matinees. Having already played Dorothy in Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s Christmas production of The Wizard of Oz last year, Flynn is clearly steeped in the mythology of Minnelli and her mother Judy Garland. This debut play takes her fascination and fandom to the next level in a smart and sensitive study of a young woman on the cusp which may yet go on to greater glory.

The Herald, July 1st 2019

ends






Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Big Gold Dreams – A Story of Scottish Independent Music 1977-1989

Disc 1 1. THE REZILLOS (My Baby Does) Good Sculptures (12/77)  2. THE EXILE Hooked On You (8/77) 3. DRIVE Jerkin’ (8/77) 4. VALVES Robot Love (9/77) 5. P.V.C. 2 Put You In The Picture (10/77) 6. JOHNNY & THE SELF ABUSERS Dead Vandals (11/77) 7. BEE BEE CEE You Gotta Know Girl (11/77) 8. SUBS Gimme Your Heart (2/78) 9. SKIDS Reasons (No Bad NB 1, 4/78) 10. FINGERPRINTZ Dancing With Myself (1/79)  11. THE ZIPS Take Me Down (4/79) 12. ANOTHER PRETTY FACE All The Boys Love Carrie (5/79)  13. VISITORS Electric Heat (5/79) 14. JOLT See Saw (6/79) 15. SIMPLE MINDS Chelsea Girl (6/79) 16. SHAKE Culture Shock (7/79) 17. HEADBOYS The Shape Of Things To Come (7/79) 18. FIRE EXIT Time Wall (8/79) 19. FREEZE Paranoia (9/79) 20. FAKES Sylvia Clarke (9/79) 21. TPI She’s Too Clever For Me (10/79) 22. FUN 4 Singing In The Showers (11/79) 23. FLOWERS Confessions (12/79) 24. TV21 Playing With Fire (4/80) 25. ALEX FERGUSSON Stay With Me Tonight (1980) 1. THE REZILL

Losing Touch With My Mind - Psychedelia in Britain 1986-1990

DISC 1 1. THE STONE ROSES   -  Don’t Stop 2. SPACEMEN 3   -  Losing Touch With My Mind (Demo) 3. THE MODERN ART   -  Mind Train 4. 14 ICED BEARS   -  Mother Sleep 5. RED CHAIR FADEAWAY  -  Myra 6. BIFF BANG POW!   -  Five Minutes In The Life Of Greenwood Goulding 7. THE STAIRS  -  I Remember A Day 8. THE PRISONERS  -  In From The Cold 9. THE TELESCOPES   -  Everso 10. THE SEERS   -  Psych Out 11. MAGIC MUSHROOM BAND  -  You Can Be My L-S-D 12. THE HONEY SMUGGLERS  - Smokey Ice-Cream 13. THE MOONFLOWERS  -  We Dig Your Earth 14. THE SUGAR BATTLE   -  Colliding Minds 15. GOL GAPPAS   -  Albert Parker 16. PAUL ROLAND  -  In The Opium Den 17. THE THANES  -  Days Go Slowly By 18. THEE HYPNOTICS   -  Justice In Freedom (12" Version) 1. THE STONE ROSES    Don’t Stop ( Silvertone   ORE   1989) The trip didn’t quite start here for what sounds like Waterfall played backwards on The Stone Roses’ era-defining eponymous debut album, but it sounds

Carla Lane – The Liver Birds, Mersey Beat and Counter Cultural Performance Poetry

Last week's sad passing of TV sit-com writer Carla Lane aged 87 marks another nail in the coffin of what many regard as a golden era of TV comedy. It was an era rooted in overly-bright living room sets where everyday plays for today were acted out in front of a live audience in a way that happens differently today. If Lane had been starting out now, chances are that the middlebrow melancholy of Butterflies, in which over four series between 1978 and 1983, Wendy Craig's suburban housewife Ria flirted with the idea of committing adultery with successful businessman Leonard, would have been filmed without a laughter track and billed as a dramady. Lane's finest half-hour highlighted a confused, quietly desperate and utterly British response to the new freedoms afforded women over the previous decade as they trickled down the class system in the most genteel of ways. This may have been drawn from Lane's own not-quite free-spirited quest for adventure as she moved through h