Vanity antics fair game for comedy

Lavvies stars Sara Georgie (left) and Rosella Hart. Photo: Supplied
Lavvies stars Sara Georgie (left) and Rosella Hart. Photo: Supplied
Here's a neat idea: if you were going to produce a play set in the vanity area outside ladies' loos, you could do a lot worse than stage it in a small space outside ladies' loos.

This is what director Cindy Diver has done with Lavvies, and an area of about four square metres, just outside the actual toilets at Zanzibar, in George Street, is a great choice. There is just room for a dozen or so chairs, so the whole thing is suitably intimate.

The action takes place in the fictional Dazzlers, obviously a larger and less decorous establishment than Zanzibar. The vanity area is a private place to which the audience has access through a notional mirror, in which the characters, in between ducking into the actual toilets, pile on make-up and do brief, desperate impersonations of confident, successful women.

The main characters are Rachel (Sara Georgie) and Angela (Rosella Hart). Rachel's husband Hot Rob has deserted her, a state of affairs that, of the two, Angela knows considerably more about. Other characters who pop in and out are played with an interesting assortment of costumes and hairstyles by Shannon Colbert and Tara Leckie.

Dialogue is raucous and often vicious, and there are cat-fights in between glugging wine from bottles, throwing up and reconciliations of varying degrees of sincerity. Visual interest comes in the form of silly shoes, outfits that are too short and too tight, little cocktail umbrellas and loads of cheap sparkles.

Written by local author Ruth Carraway (who I hope will keep writing), Lavvies is set in Essex, England, in 1999. It's an energetic, well-paced comedy, and Diver has kept it bright and snappy. Language makes it unsuitable for under-18s, but over-18s will find this 40-minute gem a good addition to their Fringe schedules. You have until Saturday 30 March to catch it.

Review by Barbara Frame. 

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