Showmanship @ C Royale

A fortune-teller’s strange monologue makes for an uneven, but haunting hour

Review by Jon Stapley | 17 Aug 2018

In a shabby American town, in the Depression-blighted year of 1935, one of the worst dust storms in history is about to hit. If you’re looking for some hope, then you could do worse than fortune-teller Myra Collins, who invites you to sit with her a while as she talks on a whole range of subjects in this one-woman show from Boondog Theatre, written and performed by Lucy Roslyn.

This feels like it must have been a dream role for Roslyn. She grabs this woman and inhabits her, relishing every tic, from the constant hypnotic moving of her hands to the way she sways pleasurably as she tosses back her drink (prohibition is over, folks). She talks disparagingly of other fortune tellers, of the tricks of the trade that some of these shysters use to hoodwink folk, and she talks of stranger things altogether. It’s the images that haunt you, all relayed in Roslyn’s give-a-fuck drawl. A farm choked by an onslaught of dust, its livestock suffocated and already buried. The devil sitting at the back of a circus audience in a tailored black suit, smiling.

It’s honestly a bit of a mess. Loose threads dangle all over the place, disparate images float by, and towards the end, you may well have simply no idea what is going on. There’s a sense even the creators didn’t quite know what to make of their baby, listing it in the guide as a ‘psychological thriller’ – which seems a bit of a stretch. If it weren’t for the delightfully strange, dusty lyricism of the script and Roslyn’s terrific performance the whole thing might be utterly unwatchable. In the end, though, it’s peculiar, beautiful, frustrating, bizarre, incomprehensible and unique.

Showmanship, C Royale (Studio 1), Aug 1-27 (not 14), 17:40

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