The Ugly Sisters
Abbi Greenland, Helen Goalen (RashDash) with Kyle Davies
Courtyard Theatre, West Yorkshire Playhouse
I woke up feeling good and wondered why. Then it came flooding in. Last night I had three reservations about RashDash and The Ugly Sisters: I couldn’t hear all the lyrics; a couple of dance routines went on a bit; sometimes the lighting was iffy.
This morning I remembered how very life enhancing good theatre can be, and that RashDash had provided a big dollop of it.
RashDash reworks the Cinderella story, locating it in our cluttered and fractured society. Here we find out about the ‘ugly ones’, twins Emerald (Abbi Greenland) and Pearl (Helen Goalen), from street kids more than getting by, through heartbreak, to separation and destruction by celebrity and sexism. Here is laughter (great lines, business and sight gags), heartbreak and serious cultural analysis—no bathos, pathos or gush.
The story is told in song, dance, percussion, wardrobe, superb body language, a fine script, and explosive energy. Backed by Not Now Bernard (Benny Brooke, Jonas Aaron, Paul Fitzgerald) on an assortment of instruments (they also voice other characters), Greenland and Goalen display a range of technique and excellence rarely to be found in one duo.
But it’s not that that had me waking full of the joys of spring. It’s the commitment and passion along with the talent these two bring to the stage. They have something to say and they chuck everything they’ve got (including of course enviable discipline and dedication) into saying it.
We don’t get much passion on the posh stages just now, unless it is someone popping out of a soap to ‘act’ it for a while. RashDash splash it all over. My hunch is that if the grants ran out they’d work for buttons and still deploy as much energy, give everything they’ve got. And that’s what theatre should really be about.
The show is touring. Go get an eyeful, you’ll wake up smiling. Good theatre should be on the National Health.
Reviewer: Ray Brown