Edinburgh Festival Fringe: There’s a disconcerting energy about Lucy Pearman, which makes it almost impossible not to laugh. In this wonky gothic creation, which is her first solo show, she has transformed herself into a downtrodden Edwardian maid.
Heroes @ Monkey Barrel (Venue 515)
Her character is cheerful, plucky but doomed and Pearman carries us with her on an adventure which rattles along despite making no sense whatsoever.
The maid has a new job, but things aren’t going well. She is being sexually harrassed by her monstrous employer. She’s afraid of being sent to the workhouse. And the soldier she is in love with is nowhere to be found. She is also haunted by a mysterious dark side – whose presence makes itself felt by an otherwordly noise like a tuned-out radio stuck in her throat.
Everything, she tells us, depends on whether or not the maid can find the perfect cabbage. Although frankly it is hard to see how the perfect cabbage will help in these dreadful circumstances, the maid is determined and she enlists the audience to help.
We read notes for her, help her travel to market and help her look for her soldier boy.
She appeals to us with a mixture of sweetness, desperation and menace and we are eager to assist her in her misguided quest.
Occasionally the mysterious dark side emerges – although it turns out her demons are as confused, ridiculous and impotent as the maid herself.
Pearman, who is a graduate of Philippe Gaulier’s clown school, has a delightfully watchable style.
From the moment she takes to the stage with her battered suitcase and misguided sense of hope, you can’t help but wish her well.
And as the maid battles against life, eager to please, hurtling towards failure, we see cannot help but see ourselves.
Until August 27. Tomorrow 12:30pm.