Tag Archives: Estelle Homerstone

Run to the Nuns – The Musical

★★★★

Riverside Studios

RUN TO THE NUNS – THE MUSICAL at the Riverside Studios

This show is presented as work-in-progress

★★★★

Run to the Nuns

“a joy to witness, and anyone seeing this show will be wanting to follow its course, swept along by the energy and camaraderie of the company”

 

When Hamlet cursed Ophelia, commanding her to “get thee to a nunnery”, he almost certainly didn’t have in mind ‘Cressida’s Convent’ – the fictional nunnery by the sea. A shame really. It could actually have been Ophelia’s salvation. Judging by the teasing glimpses we get during the new musical, “Run to the Nuns”, this somewhat unconventional retreat is the perfect getaway. A cross between a sexual health clinic and holiday resort, it promises paradise, but not in the way your typical sister would expect. Chastity? No thanks! Silence? You’ll be lucky! The only vow required, it seems, is to have as much fun as possible during your stay.

Billed as a Queer Musical, it is far more interesting than that. It doesn’t need the label. Rooted in feminism it even transcends, without renouncing, that classification with its self-deprecatory style and comic turns of phrase. Jenette Meehan’s character driven writing is steeped in affection for its targets, which simultaneously softens and sharpens the satire. Rosa Lucaks’ compositions, performed by the spirited bunch of actor musicians throughout, are catchy and pared back enough to allow the sharp-witted lyrics to cut through. (It is unclear whether Meehan or Lucaks are to be credited for the lyrics, or whether a collaboration).

The convent/clinic/retreat/ (delete as applicable) is run by ‘Doc’ (Estelle Homerstone) and her eccentric sidekick ‘Sage’ (Cat Thomas), aided by resident gynaecologist ‘Kat’ (Dani Croston) and a regular troupe of ‘sisters’ (or rather siblings). The idyllic, albeit mismanaged, lifestyle is thrown into jeopardy by Kat’s former lover, ‘Orlagh’ (Eve Pereira), who arrives bringing both the ‘romantic subplot’ and the ‘deus ex machina’. Musicians Bettine Solf and Inés Ruiz, doubling as patients and/or siblings, complement and complete the family.

As part of the Bitesize Festival at Riverside Studios, “Run to the Nuns” epitomises the spirit and objectives of the project. Designed to allow producers, writers, directors, musicians, comedians, and cabaret artists to test new work, it has attracted a varied roster of performances across the genres. The shows are, by default, in their early stages. Yes, they might be under scrutiny, but nobody is judging. Audiences are encouraged to get into the festival spirit and enjoy (and there is plenty to enjoy throughout the month); but feedback is always welcome, and sought.

Despite a run on the Brighton Fringe earlier in the year, “Run to the Nuns” is evidently still a work-in-progress, with its budgetary and time constraints clearly showing. Yet these limitations are thrown into focus purely by the light that bounces off the jewel this show can be carved into. The story needs to be fleshed out, and undoubtedly more musical numbers are in the pipeline. The delightfully idiosyncratic characters could do with a bit of extra company. This is what the Bitesize Festival is all about. It is a joy to witness, and anyone seeing this show will be wanting to follow its course, swept along by the energy and camaraderie of the company. “Run to the Nuns”? Producers out there – the race starts here. But be quick.

 

Reviewed on 16th July 2023

by Jonathan Evans

 

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:

 

The Sun Will Rise | ★★★ | July 2023
Tarantino Live: Fox Force Five & The Tyranny Of Evil Men | ★★★★★ | June 2023
Killing The Cat | ★★ | March 2023
Cirque Berserk! | ★★★★★ | February 2023
David Copperfield | ★★★ | February 2023
A Level Playing Field | ★★★★ | February 2022
The Devil’s in the Chair | ★★★★ | February 2022

 

Click here to read all our latest reviews

 

Thirsty

Thirsty

★★★★★

VAULT Festival

THIRSTY at the VAULT Festival

★★★★★

Thirsty

“There is joy and hilarity in the horrors of the heteronormativity it explores”

 

Stephanie Martin’s play, ‘Thirsty’ is a heart-breaking and manic deep dive into the truth of going through a breakup in your late twenties as a queer woman.

We meet Sara, fresh out of a relationship, looking for a way to cope with the pain of being dumped by the woman she loves. She turns to the people around her for support, including her Bridget Jones-esque friendship group full of larger-than-life characters, who, despite having good intentions, don’t completely understand the intricacies of queer relationships or their fallout.

Louise Beresford as Sara immediately breaks the fourth wall and forms allyship with the audience, creating a Fleabag-style breakaway narrative that gives audiences an insight into the truth of Sara’s thoughts throughout the whole play. This, and other choices of form and dialogue, contribute to the beautiful and subtle nod to neurodivergence in the character, and create a sense of intimacy and trust between the players and the audience.

We meet a large array of side characters, multi-rolled by a talented cast made up of women and non-binary actors. A particular mention to Anna Spearpoint, who presents a showcase of comedic characters, one of which is the best friend of Sara. Her earnest and hilarious choices make for a memorable performance, and bring diversity through her accent and acting style. She is definitely one to watch.

This is a show made by queer people, for queer people. It also offers an indifferent truth to the reality of heartbreak which anyone can relate to, and displays how these experiences can be altered massively by the people around you. There is joy and hilarity in the horrors of the heteronormativity it explores, and it offers an insight into the queer world; its kinks, its language, and the marginalisation still present within it.

“Are you going to go back to dating men? Do I have to?”

It engages in a lively pace to keep the audiences invested and by the end, slightly exhausted by the moments and memories we explore – again, a realistic insight into the mind of the character taking us through the story. Scott Le Crass’ impeccable direction utilises tools such as flashback, dance and play with the space to create a contemporary and exciting performative world.

Stephanie Martin’s ability to create honest yet hilarious conversations drives this piece, and an audience finds itself settled into the tone of the piece within minutes. This is a show that knows exactly what it is. Jokes, puns, and punchlines are sprinkled throughout the entire script, catching an audience by surprise. Within a minute the show takes you from laughter to wiping a tear. It is a piece that is so real, those who can identify with it might find it slightly painful.

The joy that has come from Scott Le Crass’ play with the space, beams through the actors. It is one of the best intimate scenes I’ve seen played out on stage, and the actors didn’t even touch.

Thirsty is a queer heartbreak story, that teaches us about the lives of the characters we meet, and if you lean into it, will teach you something about yourself. It is also a reminder that even if something looks perfect from the outside, the reality can be far from it.

A perfect show for VAULT Festival, with a guaranteed life after this run.

 

Reviewed on 2nd February 2023

by Estelle Homerstone

Photography by Flavia Fraser-Cannon

 

Vault Festival 2023

 

More VAULT Festival reviews:

 

Caceroleo | ★★★★ | January 2023
Cybil Service | ★★★★ | January 2023
Butchered | ★★★★ | January 2023
Intruder | ★★★★ | January 2023

 

Click here to read all our latest reviews