(No) Leaves on my Precious Self – 2 Stars


(No) Leaves on my Precious Self

King’s Head Theatre

Reviewed – 9th October 2018


“we are left disillusioned with the acting industry due to both the message of the piece and Fabray’s performance.”


Starting an acting career familiarly as the “third tree from the left”, Kate Fabray candidly depicts the expectation, self-doubt and rejection experienced by an emerging actor pursuing a lifelong dream. Through a combination of music, monologue and physical theatre, Fabray gives the audience a day-in-the-life whistle stop tour of the trials and tribulations of the acting world with sincerity and occasional humour.

The piece has a promising start with a striking dance that introduces the play’s motif of beauty and self-presentation. The contrasting physical struggle that follows and reappears throughout, encapsulates the accompanying mental strain of maintaining a sense of self-worth and defiance. Movement and dance appear to be Fabray’s strong suit and most comfortable forte and this is used effectively to transition between scenes and to drive the play forward.

Musical songs, ‘Maybe This Time’ and ‘There are Worse Things I could Do’, are heartfelt and offer moments of connection with the audience but miss the mark due to Fabray’s weak vocals. Many songs are off-pitch for their entirety, yet song forms a large part of this piece. This comes across as a lost opportunity to explore dance and physical theatre further, which would also enrich occasional drawn-out monologues. The saviour of this piece is Fabray’s writing skill. Her poetic description of the tree which symbolises her growth as an actor, is poignant and demonstrates an exciting capability that is not fully realised in the delivery.

The tirelessness of auditioning also translates to the audience although this dangerously drifts towards a rant. Witty moments in the piece, and instances where Fabray breaks the fourth wall to address the audience as fellow auditionees, really shine but certainly leave them desiring more. Performed slicker and wittier, the audition scenes would really pack a punch.

Fabray describes the act of putting her self-esteem in the hands of strangers in auditions. As audience members we somewhat add to the “vicious cycle of uncertainty” however it is unclear whether this irony is intentional. Lacking self-enhancing humour, she risks leaving us with a sense of culpability and forges an inconsistent connection.

The triumphant self-empowerment that concludes (No) Leaves on my Precious Self is slightly outweighed by the sense of defeat throughout. With further development, it could be extremely affecting and could reinstil the “magical power of performing arts” that Fabray repeatedly refers to. Unfortunately, we are left disillusioned with the acting industry due to both the message of the piece and Fabray’s performance.

Reviewed by Beth Partington


(No) Leaves on my Precious Self

King’s Head Theatre until 13th October


Previously reviewed at this venue:
East | ★★★★ | January 2018
Catherine and Anita | ★★★★ | February 2018
Mine | ★★★★ | March 2018
The Mikado | ★★★★★ | March 2018
Fishbowl | ★★★ | April 2018
Tumble Tuck | ★★★★ | April 2018
Baby Box | ★★★★ | May 2018
F*cking Men | ★★★ | May 2018
The Unbuilt City | ★★★ | June 2018
For Reasons That Remain Unclear | ★★ | July 2018
Glitterball | ★★★★★ | July 2018
Riot Act | ★★★★★ | July 2018
The Cluedo Club Killings | ★★★ | July 2018
And Tell Sad Stories of the Deaths of Queens | ★★★★ | August 2018
Hamilton (Lewis) | ★★★ | September 2018
La Traviata | ★★★★ | October 2018


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