Review: Rubies in the Attic, Assembly Roxy (Venue 139)

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Essentially just a short compendium of musical and operatic numbers, this show by four-piece, all-female vocal troupe the Ruby Dolls is elevated through its faultlessly classy delivery, the flimsy but effective concept seeing the girls supposedly rooting about in an attic full of family artefacts, remembering their 20th-century ancestors and their origins.

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Although they each introduce themselves with smooth, 
cut-glass accents made of the finest Radio 4-friendly Home Counties RP (one jokes about being brought up in the Black Country rather than on the banks of the Thames), their origins reveal a mixture of Italian, Russian, South African and English.

They begin with a crisp, upbeat version of Noel Coward’s Don’t Rain On My Parade, introducing their pianist Benjamin Cox, who’s here “to balance out our oestrogen levels”, and peppering a little geographic banter through the text. “As Billy Connolly said,” it’s pointed out, “there are two seasons in Scotland, June and winter.”

Such feather-light but amiable humour continues throughout, as the girls lead us upon a musical tour “celebrating how effectively [their grandparents] all reproduced”.

Along the way there is some French chanson (much mirth being made at the fact one of them doesn’t speak the language), an operatic Italian diversion or two and a remodelled Israeli folk song, as well as versions of Fascinating Aida’s Look Mummy, No Hands, Sister Suffragette from Mary Poppins and a grand finale of Don’t Rain On My Parade, all delivered with crystalline cheer and professionalism.

Until 27 August. Today 6:30pm.