Call Me Vicky
19th Feb to 21st Feb 2019
“Written by sisters Nicola and Stacey Bland, Call Me Vicky is a debut play based entirely on a true
story. This hard-hitting, comic production charts Vicky’s transition from male to female in a
time that was far less understanding than the world we live in today. This poignant play stars
Wendi Peters (Coronation Street, ITV; Hetty Feather, BBC; Quartet, UK Tour; Hatched ‘n’
Dispatched, Park Theatre; White Christmas, Dominion Theatre) as Sylvie.
It’s 1980 in Elephant and Castle. Martin and best friend Debbie are getting ready for another
night out at Martin’s favourite night spot, The Golden Girl – one of Soho’s premier drag clubs.
However, tonight is not a regular night out. Tonight is the night that will change Martin’s life
Review by Richard Lambert, 2 Stars
Set in a nightclub scene with a few round tables edging the performance space creates an exciting atmosphere as you enter. Your hand is stamped as if you’re entering a nightclub and looking at the audience already seated I felt like I’d crashed a hen party.
The energy remains high through the opening number with Fat Pearl’s (Ben Welch) opening song and patter with the audience.
Unfortunately the show then slows right down with long pauses in dialogue and some line delivery spoken too softly to be heard. It really needs to stay fast paced, high energy and fun for a lot longer!!!! It feels like the car has crashed within 5 mins of the journey. Thankfully Fat Pearl does return throughout the show lifting it back up to where it should be!
Swishing black tabs across a back wall of neon to cover them rather than turn them off only works if this is done for every scene that isn’t in the nightclub. And if the black tabs do actually cover the signs. In this case, we’re shown Vicky’s home living room with Neon lights blazing on the back wall and in other scenes the tabs are flung closed in such a manner that they open up again at the starting end. It’s very easy to tie off one end so this can’t happen and you’re distracted finto looking at the tab track and wondering why the starting point hasn’t been tied off.
A podium stage occasionally rolls out to create a catwalk extension in the nightclub. Without adding very much in terms of design the Director (Victoria Gimby) largely ignores this within the blocking and it in fact just serves to trip up the actors several times on the protruding corner wheels.
Vicky’s costumes are fabulously glam (Martha Hegarty) with shoes to die for! Vicky (Matt Greenwood) performs very realistic drunken stumbles in a manner that defies both physics and gravity!
There are a couple of side stories which don’t land very well and could be cut. Gabby (Stacey Victoria Bland) has her life challenges but they have little if any resonance. Vicky tries to help Gabby but as they say “no good deed goes unpunished” and we quickly skip onto next scenario without it really landing. Vicky’s behaviour lands her in trouble but the audience are neither complicite nor disapproving as it’s just presented quite matter of factually. There are no choices, cross-roads or decisions acted out by Vicky in this story’s journey – it’s more of a history book.
The main story is both shocking and important. It does have a message, it is educational, it is entertaining. As a piece of theatre this play is in early stages and will no doubt develop further. In it’s current format it feels as though it’s been mis-cast and is under-achieving.
The audience loved the show with many giving it a standing ovation at the end.
Performance Dates Tuesday 19th February – Saturday 9th March 2019
Tuesday – Saturday, 8pm
Saturday 9th March, 3:30pm
Relaxed Performance Tuesday 5th March, 8pm
BSL Interpreted Performance Thursday 7th March, 8pm
Location Pleasance Theatre (Downstairs), Carpenters Mews, North Road,
London N7 9EF
Box Office Tickets are available from Pleasance Theatre Box Office on 020
7609 1800 or online at https://www.pleasance.co.uk/. Tickets are
priced from £12.
How to get there The nearest underground station is Caledonian Road (Piccadilly
Line). The nearest train stations are Kings Cross/St Pancras and
Caledonian Road & Barnsbury Richmond.
Running time 70 minutes
Twitter @callmevickyplay, @ThePleasance, #CallMeVicky
Playwrights Stacey Victoria Bland and Nicola Bland
Director Victoria Gimby
Sound Designer Jac Cooper
Lighting Designer Holly Ellis
Set and Costume Martha Hegarty
Set and Costume Assistant Kerrie Woods
Sylvie Wendi Peters
Vicky Matt Greenwood
Debbie Nicola Bland
Gabby Stacey Victoria Bland
Sid Adam Young
Fat Pearl Ben Welch