"Deserves a bit more Bite"
by Lexi Wolfe for remotegoat on 29/10/17

I have to admit to being mildly disappointed at this particular show. Perhaps it is because I have been spoiled with other Don't Go Into The Cellar Theatre Company's shows, which have been fabulous. I can't in any way blame the solo actress who, it turns out, debuted in this particular role in the same evening that I saw the show.

Her accents were wonderfully different, though I can understand she was new to these particular characters somewhat, as she was finding her physicality throughout the hour-long show. Then again, for saying she held up the entire show and it was her first time, I was impressed at both her stamina and her prowess and confidence. I should imagine this will get even more thrilling the more into it she gets.

There were wonderfully funny moments, and echoes of Sherlock Holmes and Oscar Wilde throughout - nods, of course, to the company's other shows. I saw the family-friendly version, and it was enjoyed by the audience both young and old. The audience interaction kept the thing very much alive.

However, as I've said, I did come away ever so slightly disappointed. The show was only an hour, and I've watched five previous shows by the company which are both longer and have intervals. The script itself had good legs for the Hallowe'en season, but didn't feel as if it would survive much beyond that. It felt, if I'm honest, a little first-draft. I'm hesitant to say the writer has stretched himself a little thin with, as the actress just after the show conjectured, as many as nine shows on the go at once. I have always loved the subject matter, but I felt the stories herein could have gone a little further.

We were lacking the usual shock-jock tactics of light-and-sound effects the audience have enjoyed on previous shows by DGITC, which I think helped to make shows like this, and give it that real Bite that is the slugline for the company - Victorian Theatre with Bite. I think, given the way it was written, it could have really benefitted from this. I also liked the appearance of Varney and Wagner - and felt very 'in on the joke' knowing who they were - and yet here, there was no suspense, and the audience were fed long before the 'punchline' what each of the other characters was. While I loved the 'end' of Mrs. Lovett's story, which was nicely gruesome, I still feel as if the script didn't really 'go anywhere', as some previous work has done, to really keep my attention. Several people did chat quietly at different times throughout the show, and it was, I hasten to say, not the fault of the actor at all.

In all, this was a nice little piece of theatre, but I think it deserves a bit more length, consideration by the devisers, and Bite. As it were.

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