BARBARA NICE: RAFFLE
RONDO THEATRE

 

Do you imagine that a middle-class actor in a wig, playing a caricature Northern working-class housewife, can successfully get a middle-class Bath audience to pretend they are working class and dance, literally, to her tune? Janice Connolly can. Her ebullient character, Barbara Nice, brooks no denial, demanding of her audience that they sing along repeatedly with multiple cheesy old hit songs, waving their arms and legs in various ways as prescribed by her: a bit like a cross between Pavlov’s dogs and a Zumba class. And there’s a raffle. Is that it? Well, yes, it pretty much is, but Connolly spins this out to a full-length show by the sheer force of the persona of the irascible Barbara, bantering with the audience in general and individual members in particular, spinning out the raffling of six household items to take up the whole of the second half, and even getting the entire audience to regress to primary school and be taken outside en masse to play ‘What Time Is It Mr Wolf’ in the street! What’s the point of it? No point, except to have fun – and the response of the crowd is sheer unquestioning joy, with unanimous comments about how much the show cheered them up. An amazing feat. She should start a political party.
**** – 4 Stars



                                                                                         John Christopher Wood