Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The Lives and Loves of Vera Dymond, 24:7 Theatre Festival 22/7/14

Vera Dymond (Melissa Sinden) former Blackpool singing sensation, is poised to make a comeback at the top destination of the back room of the Red Lion under the watchful eye of sleazy manager Vic (Adrian Palmer). In order to add to some glitz to proceedings Vic has employed two glamorous backing singers, the Dymontees, to support her - Caitlin (Laura Mould) an ambitious singer who has designs on the top billing and thinks she knows how to play the game, and naive youngster Renee (Kimberley Hart-Simpson) who is dazzled by the idea of fame which blinds her to the ulterior motives of Vic.

This is a touching story from writer Jayne Marshall, told partly through flashback as Vera remembers how she got her break in the industry via Billy Bright (a menacing Pat Lally) a younger version of the sleazy Vic, and what she had to sacrifice and suffer to get there. The characters of Caitlin and Renee  have many parallels with her younger self, and through the course of the play and the dual narrative initial animosity and ambition is tempered as the girls bond whilst preparing for their moment in the limelight.

There are great performances here, especially from the girls. I particularly loved Hart-Simpson's adorable and vulnerable Renee, and nice original musical numbers have been created for the show. The script combines some lovely comic moments, with scenes that are really quite moving at times.

If anything I felt that I would have liked to have explored the characters a little more, especially Caitlin who felt a little under used, and to have had a little more music, but in the restricted running time available this was a touching and funny musical play that will hopefully go on to be developed further. 

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