Camden Fringe 2017: Treating Odette at Upstairs at the Gatehouse
Treating Odette is based around the creation of the film Odette, a 1950 adaptation of the life of Odette Sansom, war hero and George Cross recipient. It gives an insight into the relationship between Sansom herself, played by Jessica Boyde, and actress Anna Neagle, who would portray her in the movie, through the eyes of Patricia Law, their beautician.
The conversations between each of the ladies and Law (Charlotte Peak) are the basis of the play, and there is little action otherwise. Nonetheless, the slow-paced gossiping allows us to build up a background in our heads, as we are gradually given details of Odette’s torture, and the circumstances that led to her capture in France. Similarly, the lives of Neagle (Red Gray) and Law are given balanced attention, and an entire scene dedicated to Patricia’s date-ruining cold sore is strangely sweet, showing that despite the women’s different backgrounds, they are all equal.
The set design is superb, truly recreating the feel of a 50s beauty salon, but it’s Peak’s performance that steals the show. She brings an innocent charm to a character who is difficult to master, by finding a balance between beautician and friend, not delving too deep, but interrogating just enough to keep the story interesting.
Jennifer Selway’s script is engrossing and sweet. She cleverly creates such intense relationships with a cast of just three women, and it’s a nice change to see a solely female piece that revolves around friendly discussions and strong characters, instead of the usual over exaggeration. John Plews’s direction is simple yet powerful, with small details such as the use of a small chair becoming compelling and dynamic. Treating Odette is a passionate play, with an interesting background, that is beautifully performed by three talented women – what more could we ask for?
Treating Odette is at Upstairs at the Gatehouse from 1st until 6th August 2017, as part of the Camden Fringe. For further information or to book visit here.
For further information about Camden Fringe Festival 2017 visit the website here.