There is a strong St. Trinians vibe that comes from this play that was adapted from the award winning The Sopranos by Alan Warner.
It’s the hilarious story of a group of Catholic school girls who enter a choir competition – but they’re more interested in drinking and sex. Things don’t go as they plan not least because of their naive outlook, finding themselves in plenty unexpected situations with men.
Lee Hall adapted this novel into the play Our Ladies Of Perpetual Succour to bring Warner’s creation to the big stage. The story of young Catholic choir girls who enter a competition struggle to comprehend the ideas of adult life is an interesting play that holds no punches. It’s West End debut couldn’t be any more polished following their Olivier Award win for Best New Comedy. After a run at the National Theatre, the West End surely is the chance for this to become an unforgettable classic.
The cast of this production will be familiar to those who have already seen this previously before its West End dates. Five of the six girls will be reprising their roles on the stage; those are Caroline Deyga (Chell), Karen Fishwick (Kay), Kirsty MacLaren (Manda), Frances Mayli McCann (Kylah) and Dawn Sievewright (Fionnula). The chemistry remains between the girls that gave them rave reviews, but focus will be on newcomer Isis Hainsworth as she joins the company to play Orla. This cast has already proven themselves worthy of being on the West End, so let’s see how well they actually did.
From the first song this play completely gate crashes any boundaries that you would expect. The fact there’s no limitation to the jokes and vulgar language makes it incredibly fearless. The action is rapid and very effective with the girls taking on multiple roles to explain their parade of alcoholic adventures and sexual mishaps. However there are plenty of moments that catch you by surprise when the humour is pushed aside with tragic back stories to some of the girls. One of the biggest appeals to this is watching the six girls test their friendships with love and vulnerability.
The addition of Electric Light Orchestra songs are amazing especially with the beautiful harmonies and brilliant backing band. Every song on the list, from Mr Blue Sky to Don’t Bring Me Down, is given such a perfect tribute with the incredible talent on the stage. The anthems are given that brilliant girl power feeling that coats the stage. The stage is set up as a bar with some of the audience members being invited onto the stage to add to the social atmosphere. The box of fireworks were an absolute treat to watch, however there wasn’t as much smoke machine as I’d hoped.
Our Ladies Of Perpetual Succour is absolutely filthy and so funny it made my stomach hurt. Underneath the foul language and vulgar situations lies stories about tragedy, love and friendship that ends up being charming. The fluid acting, especially with multiple roles, adds to the strange charm that this play has. The jokes were perfectly timed and even with the serious scenes the pace was so fast that an interval would have definitely disrupted the edge of the seat effect. So, what do you get when you mix Hooch references, choir competitions and Electric Light Orchestra? Absolute genius, that’s what!
You can catch Our Ladies Of Perpetual Succour at Duke of York’s Theatre so check out this link for more information.