THE FIFTH BOOTH at THE GILDED BALLOON
The INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER
 

Sarah Coomes is a thoroughly accomplished character actress and it is no surprise that her two hander about inane bra – fitters comes across as a superb collection of monologues for women.
 
The play’s narrative hinged on the ever so slow movement of the hands on a watch, juxtaposes the senior fitter Pattys marital contentment with young Delia’s silent psychological denial of post separation solitude.  Gradually her repressions begin to manifest themselves in Ally Mc Beal acid hallucinations, only to end in a reluctant relapse into her bleak reality.
 
Both Coomes as Delia and Lyn Christine as prim and proper Patty exert an enchanting effect on the audience while Gary Lagdens direction focuses on careful pacing and a considered selection of an east listening under score.  The play could benefit from deepening the relationship between the two characters and indicating some kind of dramatic plot, without risking the establishment of the absurd format.
 
As it is, the end arrives all too soon by the standards of the plays own extended passage of time, suggesting that this could have been only the end to the first act.

United Biscuits
in High Tea

Verdict: Comedy delight
 
Edinburgh Festival - The Underbelly
London - Canal Café Theatre
High Tea is an hour of expert and outside-the-ordinary character comedy, sketches and film from what has the scent of a top show for Edinburgh 08. Sarah Coomes, tonight with the longer hair, and black ra-ra dress, and Belinda Stewart-Wilson, tonight with hair tied-back and black trousers, are the two adorable actresses who form United Biscuits

It's a simple set of chairs and minimal costume props. The art is in the performances and highly original script. It's extremely funny, and very clever - two words that for once aren't contradictory.
The show sets up situations, characters and conversations that at first appear real. Some stay like that, with occasional jarring edges signalling a bend in reality. In others, the script keeps the shape of real sentences, but with increasingly bizarre words. The action develops to follow that twist in logic, with the characters continuing to seem reasonable. The result is funny and often disturbing. It's very odd stuff, and delightful to experience - truly original and delightful comedy. And there are some real belly laughs. A pair of Scottish literary agents - Maggie MacDonald and Hettie McPhee - make filthy changes to their star author's novel. A flour-spattered old Welsh woman - Gwynn Williams (Sarah Coomes) - teaches the art of making a barabrith (Welsh fruit bread) on film, with awful accidents and stirring sound score from a male voice choir. Delia, a shop assistant who can't use a tape-measure tries to measure the breasts of a horse-riding woman bent on seduction in a new bra, but distracted by the jealous ghost of Graham, her dead husband. There are combative dry-land synchronous swimmers, shop assistants who dream of and become American tourists, one of whose husbands has been flattened on an airstrip while looking for the lavatory. There are madrigals ('Melodic Instruments of Joy') sung a capella. There's enactment of the 40th World Dry Ice-Skating Championship to the music of Gustav Holst. All presented by two remarkable actresses, gifted in performance, song, dance, and beauty. And that indefinable ingredient of charm - that allows the complete suspension of disbelief for their delightfully crackers campaign against reality.

Cast Credits Sarah Coomes & Belinda Stewart-Wilson.
Company Credits: Written by Sarah Coomes. Devised by Sarah Coomes & Belinda Stewart-Wilson. Technical manager - Elena Peña. Director - Andy de la Tour. Special thanks to Julian Doyle, comedy mentor. Film: Gwynn William - performer Sarah Coomes. Director Julian Doyle.

John Park
Canal Café Theatre

Gwynn Williams—Domestic Goddess

Edinburgh Festival - The Underbelly
London - Canal Café Theatre

Sarah Coomes' latest character  - Gwynn Williams is pure genius.   Born from a film that Coomes made for her double act, the eighty-seven year old character that she's created for this new show, should be a Welsh national treasure. The Character transposes well from Film to stage, giving us endless gem like moments of really well tuned physical comedy and delightfully detailed character observation.   Coomes expertly manages to keep the audience engrossed with the wild ramblings of her character, as she bakes a fruit cake live on stage and takes us through the finer points of a pottery class.   To keep such a character so spot on for over and hour while still managing to take the audience with her  is quite a feat; and a very funny one too, one I would highly, highly recommend.

BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK at THE GILDED BALLOON

EDINBURGH FESTIVAL

Set at the funeral of her dead mothers left leg, Sarah Coomes has her new show immediately launching off from a very funny, edgy place. She skilfully imbues her black comedy through a selection of her latest characters, deftly weaving a story through the middle, the whole evening climaxing with a cremation and a coffin dance. Very clever, funny stuff.

New Show May 19th

Comedy Store
Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, California
6.30pm

Sarah's next much anticipated show is coming to LA this fall. Please watch this space for times and venue details.
Meanwhile catch Sarah at The Skylight Theatre in August where she will be playing the color Orange in a new play about Jimi Hendrix. For tickets please contact: http://skylighttheatrecompany.com

The show plays at 11 pm from the 20th August ~ 10th of September

Scroll down to see previous shows and reviews

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