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The Revlon Girl review at Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh – ’emotional clarity’

The cast of The Revlon Girl at Assembly Roxy The cast of The Revlon Girl at Assembly Roxy
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In the months following the Aberfan disaster, the bereaved mothers would meet up on a regular basis to offer comfort and support to one another. On one occasion, they invite a representative from Revlon to join them and offer some beauty advice. They try to keep it a secret, not wishing to appear frivolous, but it soon becomes clear that no amount of make-up will ever camouflage the pain and loss they all feel.

The Revlon Girl is Neil Anthony Docking’s first stage play and save for a few structural missteps, it’s a challenging story of how we process grief both individually and as a community. Docking’s script could be considered emotionally manipulative but he tempers the testimony with a feisty humour that hints heavily at the resilience of these women.

There are some finely nuanced performances here too, notably from Charlotte Grey as the eager-to-please Sian and Zoe Harrison as Jean, who is so consumed with grief at the loss of her son, that she refuses to address her pregnancy. Perhaps the most resonant voice is that of Bethan Thomas’ Rona who, in an eerily prescient tirade, claims that compensation matters because ultimately money is all that the Government cares about.

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Moving story told with emotional clarity and down-to-earth humour