Ginger Hibiscus | Ginger Hibiscus | Clairvoyant at Etcetera Theatre
Ginger Hibiscus | Clairvoyant at Etcetera Theatre
Ginger Hibiscus | Clairvoyant at Etcetera Theatre
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03 Aug REVIEW: Clairvoyant at Etcetera Theatre

Cheryl Fernandez Versini is back in the celebrity columns, her face once again adorning the gossip pages, but not, this time, because of a twist in her personal life. Instead, it’s because this year’s XFactor adverts have already started to emerge, a fact that can only possibly mean one thing: we don’t have to wait long, now, until the next batch of people who think they have a certain star quality – conspicuous only by its absence – enliven our TV screens with their wacky outfits, excruciating vocals and, frankly bizarre claims. Clairvoyant takes us into the mind of one of these hopeless hopefuls, as she delivers a deliciously dreadful audition, projecting about as much charisma as a laminated tablecloth in a performance marred by unwelcome apparitions.

A one woman show both written and performed by Bettine Mackenzie, it’s fair to expect a committed and considered performance, but Mackenzie delivers much, much more than this, proving herself to be an enthralling performer with a charmingly funny show.

As the sole actress, Mackenzie’s vivid depiction of her characters feels effortless, transitioning seamlessly and without announcement between them using just her voice and posture, slipping into and out of some incredibly precise accents. Creating what feels like a series of convincing, but ordinary, individuals, Mackenzie’s characters somehow don’t drift into immediate obscurity, as each reveals themself to be interesting and amusing, focusing the eye on the humour and irony of everyday life, of normal people going about their usual business, from writing a will to reading the announcements at the local church.

From reading the show description, it’s clear that the premise of Clairvoyant is of a girl dreaming of pop superstardom, whose toe-curling performance is interrupted by a “host of unresolved spirits,” fighting for attention as the memories of others invade her consciousness. Yet despite the show comprising interchanging vignettes, each a brief dive into the memories surrounding her, in functioning as a thread tying the stories together it feels imperceptibly thin, visible only in the title and show description, with no hint of supernormal in the execution. Without the overarching concept being made at all apparent, either explicitly or implicitly through staging or movement, each mini-sketch comes across as just a mini-sketch, consequently lacking in the kind of direction and cohesion that having such a strong concept would usually bring.

Despite this slight structural difficulty, Clairvoyant is a show as funny as it is perceptive, holding a magnifying mirror up to the inhabitants of little Britain, delivered in an engaging and enjoyable way.

Dates: 25th – 26th July 2015
Location: Etcetera Theatre
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Star Rating

Ginger Hibiscus don’t like using stars as a headline; we think they’re too reductionist, and that decision-making based on stars misses the point of a review. Just as you wouldn’t judge a personality using a five-point scale, theatre is multi-dimensional. So have a read, and then look at the stars afterwards.
Okay, fine, but how many stars do you give it? Click here