by Joanna Murray-Smith
Jermyn Street Theatre 16b Jermyn Street SW1Y 6ST To 11 January 2014.
Mon–Sat 7.30pm Mat Sat 3.30pm.
Runs 2hr One interval.
TICKETS: 0207 287 2875.
Review: William Russell 7 January.
Six of the best.
Ellie Nunn displays enviable versatility in these six monologues by the Australian writer Joanna Murray-Smith. Ms Nunn has splendidly expressive features and copes with transforming herself into a beautifully observed gallery of women quite splendidly. It is, by any standards, a tour de force.
The gimmick devised by director Jack Gamble is that we see her changing her clothes and wigs through a vast dressing room mirror. It makes for breathtaking watching. Will she manage in time? It also allows him to end each monologue with a blast of light then blackout as the bulbs round the mirror are turned on and then out.
We first see Ms Nunn as a young mother coping with a baby which cries in the night, then hilariously as a cactus enthusiast delivering a speech to the local cactus society about succulents and revealing as she does that all is not well with her marriage. She then transforms herself into a schoolgirl waiting to take part in the school talent competition in which she will sing a song from Cats. Unfortunately her rival sings it first so she has to improvise.
After the interval she is a bride looking at the man she is about to marry and having last minute doubts but insisting she is really happy. Cleverly Ms Murray-Smith then ups the ante with a much more serious monologue by a widow in her sixties talking about life with others like her and how she reads for a young blind man. It is very touching, Nunn does it justice, and it lends weight to the evening.
How do you follow that? You do Liza Minelli, or someone not a mile removed from her with a glorious monologue, much of which is sung, about the ups and downs of the life of a diva, a “dame with charisma to sell,” she tells us.
Nunn has it in abundance and brought the House to its feet.
The Mother/The Enthusiast/The Schoolgirl/The Bride/The Senior Citizen/ The Diva: Ellie Nunn
Director: Jack Gamble.
Designer: Zoe Klinck.
Composer: Jeff Carpenter.
Choreographer: Rebecca Robertson.
Hair/Makeup: Nicola Hurle.