Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: Clairvoyant, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Billy Barrett
A nervous young would-be pop star in a tracksuit steps out to perform her rendition of Madonna’s Like a Prayer. She stumbles through the steps and stammers out the lyrics, before becoming possessed by the spirits of a series of women, each seemingly on the brink of a nervous collapse. The voice of the fame-seeker manages to break through occasionally, each time assuring us less convincingly that her own unique style and charisma will bring her the stardom she craves.
Bettine Mackenzie’s solo performance showcases her impressive range and ability to become different characters, each of which appears to begin as an accent-centred comedy routine but ends on a note of real emotional truth. Her elderly Scottish woman reading out parish notices is particularly enjoyable, while a student forced into an uncomfortable situation by her teacher brings a darker tone to the fragments of narrative.
The central character’s actual “clairvoyance” isn’t entirely clear without reading the programme notes though, meaning that the show occasionally feels more like an actor’s showreel or a series of unrelated monologues than a thematically coherent piece. But Mackenzie’s undeniable skill as a performer keeps the pace pushing along, and her detailed and well-observed character work is really a joy to watch.
C nova (Venue 145) until 31 August / listings
Published in The Scotsman on 11 August 2015
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