Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour at Duke of York’s Theatre
At the ornate Duke of York’s Theatre for the evening performance of Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour a hush falls over the audience as the show begins.
After sold-out shows at the National Theatre, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and winning this year’s Olivier Award for Best New Comedy, Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour is a brave and rollicking coming-of-age tale straight from the highlands of Scotland. The play tells of the lives of six teenage girls on a convent school trip to a Choir Competition, and the hilarious ways it goes awry. What is clear is the all-female cast’s ability to belt out a myriad of pop and choir songs. Their uncouth ways and coarse language create the perfect setting for rebellious Scottish lasses wanting to grab life by the horns. With a number of funny one-liners such as “…zapped all my pubes out…” and “she had diarrhoea so bad she had to stick sanitary pads up her arse”, it is no surprise the audience were left laughing raucously.
Though the show is full of rude tongue-in-cheek comments, the production sensitively approaches the more serious themes, such as dealing with cancer, being fatherless and teen pregnancy, with acuity and care. The young performers clearly understand the complexities of adolescence, and depict youth angst and the broiling turmoil with maturity. The themes are not wholly original, but the piece is undoubtedly a funny and tender portrayal of teen lives, and the rift between religious duty and adolescent desires. The swift dialogue is full of sharp words and Scottish slang, which is sometimes hard to keep up with alongside the multi-roling, but each actor is incredibly strong in portraying her various characters, whether they are a visually impaired geriatric or a number of perverted men, on the lookout for easy sex.
This production may not be to everyone’s taste, but what it does distinctly well is engage theatregoers in the lives of six young teenagers, growing up Catholic in Scotland, and their individual trials and tribulations.
Photo: Manuel Harlan
Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour is at Duke of York’s Theatre from 9th May until 2nd September 2017. Book your tickets here.