Thursday, 8 August 2019

REVIEW: The Indecent Musings of Miss Doncaster 2007 at the Camden People’s Theatre

Ice-skating, cacti and a feline who catches more than a mouse are just some of The Indecent Musings of Miss Doncaster 2007. In the years since she was crowned, things haven’t quite gone to plan for Annabel York. The show is candid, and at times cuts deep, teaching us that it’s the difficult times in life that shape who we are.

York is hugely versatile, and would not be misplaced in the casts of Derry Girls, Sex Education, or Doctor Foster. Her characters, regardless of their eccentricities, are genuine and perfectly judged. Sometimes the brilliance comes by way of a glance, an eye roll or a sigh. The performance never feels forced or exaggerated, and the audience hangs on York’s every word.

Rebecca Loudon’s direction keeps a tight grip on the bubbling cocktail, ensuring the pace never drops, but also allowing a breath when the more poignant moments hit home. This is a partnership that really works, and I’d be very interested to see other collaborations between Loudon and York.

There is brilliant use of music throughout, mostly as an pulsing undercurrent, but with moments of abandon, volume cranked high as York dances in a club with friends, or at the work awards evening, vastly outnumbered by men, with all eyes on her. At the very same event, fuelled by alcohol, York treats her colleagues to a medley of show tunes. There is definitely room for this to be elaborated on, not least because the few bars we are treated to are like velvet.

York’s delivery is undeniably natural. So often in these autobiographical shows the performers’ voice feels like an affectation. Here, the dialogue is effortless, calm and collected. York is the epitome of cool as she slouches into her office chair, engaging with party guests, dull colleagues or her sickly father.

At the 11th hour, a voiceover has the audience in tears, yearning to hear from loved ones no longer with us. This, like the rest of the show is perfectly judged. It doesn’t feel clichéd or distasteful, instead it is quite beautiful, and we instantly want to reach out and comfort the leading lady.

In 70 minutes, we are steered through alcoholic nights, sexual misadventures and an unwanted promotion, as well as breathtaking grief, frustration and guilt. Hysterical one minute, heartbreaking the next, when York lets rip, she is a force to be reckoned with.

Playing until Sunday 20th August.

Review by Ian Marshall 

Rating: ★★★★

Price of ticket: £12/£10
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