Sequin Dreams at Bewleys Cafe Theatre

October 28, 2013


If there is one mark of the Show in a Bag shows at this year’s ABSOLUT Fringe (I’ve caught 4 of the 5), it’s been a discomfort with the text, as if the artists had only just recently come into contact with the final draft. That was the case with Sequin Dreams, written and starring Michele Moran, who wasn’t fully off book and whose pauses in the latter half of the show seemed less for effect and more to recall her spot in the action. Directed by Conor Hanratty, it is a testament to the tale and the teller that this is only a minor annoyance in a lushly penned drama that takes us from the back alleys of Kells to the boudoirs of Beirut, with a jaunt through the illegal 60s underground of lavender London.

Drawing on the saucy cabaret of Eartha Kitt and with salty seaside humour, Moran’s showgirl is a base from which she projects great longing and shame as she uses the death of a beloved performer to mediate on how she lost her own way. Making us, the audience, the imagined mourners at a lesbian lounge show. From her mountainous father to her transvestite uncle, the seedy lounge boss to the sapphic security she never plays an accent for a laugh so that we see the characters portrayed as people, people she recalls as having hurt or helped her, not as comic caricatures. In short, there is great feeling which makes it all the easier to pull up a seat to her recollections.

Bucking the trend of many other Fringe shows, Sequin Dreams is too short. Everything about the production makes you want more. More of Russell Harris’ gorgeous costumes, of the period show tunes and the period itself. A more appropriate evening time scheduling and more appropriate venue would enrich the delicious action of this show.

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