Review: Songologues at Rosie’s Wine Bar in Southsea

Rehearsals for Hedda Gabler by The Bench, April 2018. Picture by Jacquie Penrose PPP-180504-122002006

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Proof that local theatre can be exciting and original is the Southsea Shakespeare Actors’ (SSA) Songologues, an intimate, revue-style performance given at Rosie’s Wine Bar.

SSA have taken a game that most of us have played – turning song lyrics into conversation – and made it performance art.

Honestly? Not all of the songs are effective – but when they’re good they’re really very good indeed. A lot of the joy comes, of course, from slow-dawning recognition of a familiar lyric in an unfamiliar setting.

Director Matthew Gibbins’ cast are having a creative ball. Not everyone manages to avoid the trap of speaking in the rhythm of the original song, but there are several masters in this cast.

Champion lyric-speaker is Ben Tanner whose realism appears effortless, but SSA newcomer Leila Millson and Aaron Holdaway, Courtney Appleton and Susie Coutts are photo-finish behind him.

Sue Bartlett’s put-upon sex-slave is, perhaps, the comic moment of the night as, handcuffed and blindfolded, she pathetically delivers The Beatles’ Help! Great fun.