A different world


No disrespect to the drama critics, but when I saw some of the reviews for “Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour” at the National, my first thought was, “Can it really be that good?” Well, it turned out to be even better. In fact, I’m struggling to think of a more exciting and inspiring night I’ve ever had at the theatre. It didn’t even feel like a play, more like a demented fly-on-the wall documentary. The six young Scottish actresses are just extraordinary: not only do they convince you that they are a gang of unlikely, hormone-fuelled choir singers, they also take turns to play all of the adults too, from prim schoolteachers to randy middle-aged men on the pull. The language is filthy, but it’s not really shocking because it underscores the contrast between the girls’ fractured lives and the intoxicating sense of freedom they discover whenever they let songs sweep over them. No wonder some people have drawn comparisons with “The Commitments”. Whether they’re performing Bartok, Bob Marley or the ELO the voices are heart-breakingly beautiful. I haven’t read Alan Warner’s source novel, “The Sopranos”, but it seems to me the play (or musical, depending on your point of view) is a lesson in how music gives us all a chance to live another life. Absolutely unmissable. [Photo by Manuel Harlan]

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Chief theatre critic for The Times. Twitter: CliveDavisUK Facebook: www.facebook.com/clive.davis.10 Instagram: clivephotos
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