Non-stop one-woman show gives plenty to gasp about

Picture: Timothy Gerges.

Picture: Timothy Gerges.

One Woman Farce has been doing the rounds for a couple of years, developing from a rough-hewn workshop affair at the National Arts Festival in 2012 (where it won an Ovation Award) to the more polished affair it is now.

The story, about a suburban family whose home is thrown into disarray by the arrival of a largely absent patriarch’s bristly mother, sees actress and co-writer Louise Saint-Claire playing eight characters and having to – as is proper for a farce – exit and enter via five different doors at bewilderingly irregular intervals.

There are plenty of one-liners to go along with the wonderful physical comedy that comes with Saint-Claire jogging around and across the stage for just over an hour, assuming the physical mannerisms of each character.

In the play’s earlier versions, this formula was given added fizz by a combination of the simplicity of the set and the breakneck speed at which Saint-Claire hurtled through characters and contexts, making audiences gasp as she managed to hit scores of marks without ever apparently losing her way.

The updated set is arguably too good, as it fills in a number of conceptual gaps that audience members could fill with their own imagination in the original.

Still, One Woman Farce is a spectacular feat in terms of the amount of characterisation it requires from its star.




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