RUBIES IN THE ATTIC
Assembly Roxy Upstairs 2 Roxburgh Place EH8 9SO To 27 August 2012.
6.30pm 12; 14-19; 21-27 Aug.
Runs 50min No interval.
Review: Carole Woddis 26 July at Riverside Studios Hammersmith.
Ruby Dolls – and what dolls.
When you come across something that has this kind of class stamped all over it, you can’t help but get excited.
Sharp, smart and very talented, the Ruby Dolls, bearing shades of early Fascinating Aida – so it’s no surprise that one of their final songs turns out to be by FA’s Dilly Keane – are a close harmony quartet that will go down a storm in Edinburgh when they make their debut.
Some may have caught the Ruby Dolls’ London opener, the Weimar Berlin-inspired Ein Abend Mit Ruby a couple of years ago. But, new to me, they comprise the four bright sparks of Susanna Fiore, Jenny Grove, Jessica Sedler and Tara Siddall, accompanied sensitively on the piano by their musical director, Benjamin Cox.
Spiced with droll humour, a delectable sense of self-deprecation and iridescent integrity, they sing and tell stories about their ancestors’ loves, dreams and dashed hopes to create a glorious scrapbook of the kind you might fall upon with surprise and wonder in an upstairs attic stuffed full of things about your forebears you never knew. We’re even invited at the beginning to share in this process by adding snippets of information about our own backgrounds, later used in a clever little sketch to flesh out the background to Charlie, a hypothetical grand-dad.
In a progamme that includes Italian Sorrento, Parisian chanteuse, Yiddish and African folk songs together, they remind us what a wonderfully polyglot thing British identity is – a certain Tory MP please note.
Sporting beaming smiles and dashing 1940s outfits of red, white and blue, they move seamlessly from Noel Coward’s ultra model of Englishness in ‘There Are Bad Times Just Around The Corner’ to moving musical and anecdotal accounts of poor Russian-born East End Jewish immigrant lives, or an account of a young South African couple whose marriage falls apart under the pressure of desert war memories, ending with the suffragettes and Barbra Streisand’s signature ‘Don’t Rain on My Parade’ (from Funny Girl).
Ancestral voices never sounded so sweet or so moving. Don’t miss them.
The Ruby Dolls: Susanna Fiore, Jenny Grove, Jessica Sedler & Tara Siddall
Director: Laura Casey.
Designer: Zoe Lally.
Lighting: Gary Bowman.
Relighting: Ben Scorer.
Lighting Programming: Dan Street.
Musical Director/Piano: Benjamin Cox.
Choreographer: Susanna Fiore.
Costume: Charlotte Lucas, Melanie Woolven, Tara Siddall.
Puppet Directors: Ruth Rogers & Finn Caldwell.
More info from twitter: @therubydolls.com; facebook: The Ruby Dolls; and www.therubydolls.com