The Bravery of Miss Anne and Other Tales of Splendorous Adventure

Sun 19th – Sat 25th August 2012

reviews

Ella Griffiths

at 01:56 on 21st Aug 2012

0agrees

0disagrees

It’s always a pleasure when watching a production that gives you a rush of warm satisfaction rivaling that of excessive cake consumption. Watching ‘The Bravery of Miss Anne’ feels rather like enjoying a lavish afternoon tea, except with deliciously vintage, light-hearted and amusing plays in place of the cucumber sandwiches. Performed by The Damsels Most Daring, a charismatic and gifted duo consisting of actress/musicians Maya Levy and Emily Murphy, this endearing display of musical storytelling manages to balance sepia-tinted tweeness with a dash of genuine talent.

Living up to its description as a ‘live radio play but with far more to look at’, the production embraces lively music and audience interaction in energetically recounting a Western adventure, Gothic thriller and criminal drama. This delightful patchwork of tales is infused with an intimate and ramshackle charm - the result of a cosy venue, witty and original writing and live instrumental accompaniment. Encouraging the audience to create atmospheric settings by clicking their fingers for rain and breathing heavily to signal fog is another quirky touch. Maintaining a brisk, confident pace proves to be vital in ensuring that the compact and potentially insipid sketches didn’t lose momentum, resulting in a pleasant jaunt through a selection of ironic cultural references. However, the highlight of the show is undoubtedly the resourcefulness and confidence of the actresses themselves. From the stereotypes of a feisty Western drama to eccentric New Orleans characters and clipped British Victorians, the affectionately titled Miss Emily glides between diverse accents and vivid personas like a thespian chameleon. While assembling the myriad and entertaining props between scenes, the musical interludes also offer her the chance to reveal a seductive voice in a rendition of Gilbert and Sullivan’s tongue-twisting Major-General's Song. Maya Levy, the play’s writer and composer, is equally excellent in demonstrating her musical and theatrical skills as an animated conductor-cum-narrator. Switching between the harmonica, kazoo and piano, her backdrop was vital in generating an array of unique settings and illuminating her convincing characterisation (as well as showcasing her beautiful rendition of Chopin, of course).

Certainly, the triumphantly slick timing and admirable versatility of the actresses are successes only heightened by the alluring roughness and retro atmosphere of the whole production. With a dollop of irony, a sprinkle of wit, and an abundance of musical talent, these lovely ladies have created a loveable little show worthy of skipping a feast of baked goods. Now that’s a compliment.

agree
disagree

Jenni Reid

at 09:15 on 21st Aug 2012

0agrees

0disagrees

Presented by the ‘Damsels Most Daring’, Maya Levy and Emily Murphy, ‘The Bravery of Miss Anne’ tells the tales of three intriguing women – Miss Anne, a teacher in the American West who uses her words instead of weapons; Miss Constance, a Londoner harbouring secret dreams of being a detective; and Miss Celeste, a young French girl suffering from a mysterious case of ‘hysteria’. Miss Maya and Miss Emily, as they primly call one another, did well to squeeze some enthusiasm out of a reluctant audience, involving us in their sound effects and props, and addressing us directly before and after each tale. Their expressiveness and ability to connect with the audience are on top form. Above all else, both women come across as extremely charming, the kind of people who are instantly likeable; they also have excellent chemistry and are well synchronised as a duo. The show is clearly well-rehearsed but has a relaxed atmosphere, and the small but nicely decorated room is well-suited to the size and style of the performance. At some moments I wasn’t quite sure whether moments of disorganisation and panic were genuine or part of the show – but in any case, they were hardly detrimental to the viewing experience. More often they make Levy and Murphy even more endearing.

Miss Maya’s piano accompaniment is one of the most impressive things about this show; at times as an understated atmosphere-builder, at others really demonstrating her talent such her rendition of Chopin’s ‘Minute Waltz’. Both are good singers, especially in harmony, and their musical numbers bring an added shine to the stories. Each are entertaining and inventively told, not quite acted out but rather recreated, through atmosphere, sound effects and snippets of speech. The wide array of props show a close attention to detail, and are used to good effect. Described as “rib-tickling, ivory-tinkling, mind-twiddling tales”, this original and witty piece of storytelling was certainly enough to raise my spirits.

agree
disagree

Audience Avg.

0 votes, 0 comments

Click here for more event information

cast involved

other events on

Version 0.3.7a