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Festival Review: The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart

The_Strange_Undoing_of_Prudencia_Hart_National_Theatre_of_Scotland_Adelaide_Festival_mediumPresented by National Theatre of Scotland
Reviewed Saturday 2nd March 2013

If you like laughing, then this is the show for you. Annie Grace, Melody Grove, Alasdair Macrae, Paul McCole, and David McKay start the evening well before the performance proper begins, playing the dance music of Scotland, along with songs and ballads.

Prudencia Hart, played by Melody Grove, is a prim and proper academic whose field of research is The Border Ballads, songs from the Sottish/English borders, that told of raids and battles but, often, had supernatural themes. The performance begins with one of the most famous of the Border ballads, The Twa Corbies (Two Crows), carrion discussing how they will devour the body of a fallen knight. This sombre song belies the light-hearted and hilarious tale that is to come.

We soon find that the play itself is in the style of a Border Ballad, about Border Ballads, making very effective use of rhyming couplets. All of the cast are engaged in telling the story, as well as playing various characters, from other academics, who argue that Prudencia’s approach is old fashioned and ridicule her, to the drunken crowd in an inn, in which she takes refuge from the weather. She thinks better of this and heads out again to look for a Bed and Breakfast, and is met on the way by the owner. She later regrets this, but you will have to see the production to find out why, and to discover what happens next.

There is more music and song scattered throughout the performance, and it is a laugh a minute, although it also has some serious points to make if you care to look for them. The performers work around the entire room, and there is a little gentle audience involvement as they make their way around the tables. The five performers do a sensational job, keeping the audience in fits of laughter with the rhyming dialogue and the physical theatre antics, and applauding the music enthusiastically. Try to get tickets if you still can.

Try some of the fine German beers as you enjoy the performance, but take note of the disclaimer that “National Theatre of Scotland cannot be held responsible in the event of any members of the audience losing their head, their heart, their shoes, or their very selves during the course of the performance.”

Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Arts Editor, Glam Adelaide.

Adelaide Festival page

Venue: German Club, 223 Flinders Street, Adelaide
Season: to 9th March 2013
Duration: 2hrs 20mins with 20 min interval
Tickets: $30 to $49
Bookings: BASS 131 246 or here

 

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