Friday, 19 August 2016

REVIEW: Sally's Alright at the Etcetera Theatre

We’ve all got it – that idea of what our lives could have been, if only this had happened, or that had happened, or we’d known such and such earlier…  And Sally’s Alright is one woman’s account of how it all went wrong.

Written by and starring Sarah Tattersall, the story charts character Sally’s arrival in Brighton and quick rise to “professional personality”.  Desperate to obtain fame and prove her parents wrong, she embarks on a journey reminiscent of a soap opera.  It’s an interesting and well told story, but despite the way it is billed it doesn’t work as a comedy - more a witty and engaging monologue.  

Sarah Tattersall is a diamond in the rough – despite the issues with the production, she certainly has potential.  With a surprisingly magnetic style, Tattersall’s expression and delivery are by far the best things about the show.  After an understandably nervous start, she is effortlessly charismatic and becomes naturally witty as the show goes on – demanding the attention of the audience and making it impossible to look away.  Given the right vehicle – or potentially even this one given some improvements – Tattersall has the capacity to be a very talented performer. 

The beginning of the production is very difficult to engage with, coming across as awkward and forced. However, Tattersall soon gets into the rhythm of things and starts to ease into the role, offering a more natural performance. In fact, it's when she isn't trying to be funny that Tattersall really begins to connect with the audience, bringing out a character that, while ridiculous, shows some real and surprising moments of vulnerability and relatability. 

The simplicity of the production does lend itself to the intimate setting of Fringe theatre, and works well with a story that requires the imagination of the audience.  The lighting changes are smooth, but the sound doesn’t quite match the performance.  It seems to have been included for the sake of having music, particularly at the beginning when the timing is haphazard.

Overall, this show is enjoyable in the moment, but almost instantly forgettable. A perfectly pleasant way to spend an hour, but nothing really stands out.  The comedy is inconsistent and tries far too hard, but there is definitely a glimmer of potential in there somewhere.  If only it wasn’t so hard to find it!

Review by Liv Burrell

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