Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour review at Duke of York’s Theatre, London – ‘riotous and raucous’
Lee Hall’s riotous, abrasive theatrical adaptation of Alan Warner’s novel The Sopranos was a big hit when it premiered at the 2015 Edinburgh fringe. This success has since been translated into a run at the National Theatre and an Olivier win for best new comedy.
The boisterous, and frequently foul-mouthed show now makes the leap to the West End where it fits right in alongside the jukebox musicals. It’s, in part, one itself – its score heavily made up of Jeff Lynne’s Electric Light Orchestra hits – but it comes with added heart, soul, and spice.
Vicky Featherstone’s production – part gig, part play – invites some of the audience onto the stage to join the party. They are seated at tables on either side – though there’s no active audience participation.
Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour follows six female teenage members of a Scottish convent school on a trip to Edinburgh to participate in a choir competition. The girls are more intent on getting drunk and getting laid. It also covers more poignant territory like the cancer of one of the girls and teenage pregnancy.
With its thrilling, young all-female ensemble cast and band, and predominantly female creative team, the show is also a celebration of friendship between women, and, as such, challenge to usual West End fare.
But while I love its raucous energy, some of the raw excitement that it created in Edinburgh has been lost in transit to finding a mainstream audience.