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A one-woman tour-de-force I am dying to see again!



Review by David Munro

I NEVER thought that talk of death, dying and funerals could keep me fascinated and amused for an hour. Well, Pauline Goldsmith achieved just that in her one-woman show at the Studio, Lyric Hammersmith.

From the moment you are ushered into the auditorium, which has been transformed into a front parlour, complete with coffin, until you are shown out and taken downstairs to see the coffin loaded into a hearse, she keeps up a monologue that is consistently entertaining and amusing.

She greets you with tea, whisky and sandwiches, and then launches into the unctuous spiel of the undertaker that anyone who has been involved with the burial of a friend, or loved one, recognises only too well.

As she delivers it, though, she mocks the absurdities without ever straying from the actualities of what is comprised in the preparations for interment.

Thereafter, she becomes the embarrassed hostess at the wake, tongue-tied and gauche, interspersed with vignettes of embarrassed relatives, friends and, most tellingly, the dying and demanding grandparent, for whom the coffin is intended.

It is a superlative performance and she never falters, slipping from one character to another, without a break or lack of reality.

It is a tour-de-force that has to be seen to be believed.

According to the programme notes, she only intended it for three-night run, in 2001, and has been touring it ever since.

If that is true, and I have no reason to doubt it, she has managed to retain its freshness, as the performance I saw had the spontaneity of one that had only just been created.

Every now and again, she illustrates or enhances a point with a cartoon projected behind her, and these too are enchanting, and credit apparently goes to Mandy McIntosh for them.

It is altogether an hour of sheer delight and I for one am dying to see it again

Bright Colours Only, written and directed by Pauline Goldsmith.
Lighting Design & Technical Manager, Paul Sorley; Visuals, Mandy McIntosh; Print Design, Niall Walker. CAST: Pauline Goldsmith.
Lyric Studio, Lyric Theatre Hammersmith, King Street, London, W6 0QL.
April 14 - May 1, 2004. Eves: Mon - Sat 8pm. Box Office: 08700 500 511.

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