On a stage littered with empty McDonald’s wrappers and discarded shot glasses, stand six teenage girls in school uniform. One poor, one rude, one in a band, one gay, one posh and one a miracle cancer survivor. This is a stand-out, hilarious, musical play that captures the ferocity, fun, tumult, guts and wonder of being young.
This Scottish choir from a Catholic convent school - or the Virgin Megastore as they describe it - are preparing to leave their small town on a trip to Edinburgh, where they’ll be entering a singing competition and painting the town the yellow colour of regurgitated sambucca.
The musical script by Billy Elliot writer Lee Hall flits between the profane and the poignant almost as quickly as Martin Lowe’s music dances between the velvety harmonies of choir songs and drunken karaoke punk numbers. A vibrant rendition of ELO's 'Mr Blue Sky' is particularly memorable, and trigger such jubilant applause it almost stops the show.
Adapted from Scottish author Alan Warner’s cult 1998 novel The Sopranos (singers, not mobsters), this play isn’t for everyone. But millennials won’t fail to recognise the darker bits of themselves and their friends among the sextet discovering sex, magic mushrooms and themselves for the first time.
As the girls sing their hearts out, struggle to avoid trouble and swap their outlandish histories (“my sister is also my aunty”) their very human, troubled souls shine brightly from behind their eye-watering language and terrible decisions.
The result is as touching and sad as it is funny and silly. Director Vicky Featherstone brings out mesmerising performances from the cast in this London transfer. It's no surprise that Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour was talk of the last year's Edinburgh Fringe, then gained more buzz with a sellout run at Edinburgh's Traverse Theatre and national tour.
This is not theatre for stuffy traditionalists (Heed the warning: 'contains sex, singing and sambucca') but it is the most fun we've had in the theatre for a very long time.
|What||Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour review|
South Bank, London, SE1 9PX | MAP
|Nearest tube||Waterloo (underground)|
01 May 17 – 30 Jun 17, Run dates TBC
|Price||£15 - £45|
|Website||Click here to book via the National Theatre|