Dare I shamefully admit I didn’t know much about the production Side Show before heading to the Southwark Playhouse. My shame was only enhanced as I left the theatre wondering how on earth I hadn’t known about this fantastic show before!
Side Show, directed by Hannah Chissick is inspired by the true story of conjoined twins Daisy and Violet Hilton. Although physically attached, they couldn’t be more different if they tried. Daisy the more outspoken of the pair yearns for stardom whilst Violet prefers to be out of the spotlight. Their journey begins in a Side Show working and living with social outcasts labelled the ‘Freaks’. We follow them on their quest for stardom and freedom; taken on a journey of what it really means to be joined by the hip. Through this journey they also discover love in the form of their entertainment managers Buddy and Terry. The Southwark playhouse as many will know is an intimate venue. Although this production takes place in the ‘Large’ theatre, the stage is so small every seat purchased is top price!
The production uses the intimacy the space already lends to its full advantage by making the production feel inclusive. Freaks pop up from audience areas, and other characters also use the audience area as an extended area of performance. The direction is absolutely superb. It’s ambitious and smart. For example, instead of using a revolving floor, the ensemble will simply prop the main cast on boxes and physically spin the boxes to replicate this. The lighting is another area to rave about. The lighting plot was simply beautiful, all scenes were complicated by very specific lighting choices. Similarly all cast were fully aware of their physical journey on stage and stood where the light would compliment them the most. A particular scene to bring to light (ha) was when Manager and Daisy’s love interest Terry imagined how it would be to have her completely separate from her sister. This moment was also the first we physically see the twins part. Daisy was stood in a beautiful warm lighting state, whilst Tim stood watching her from a cold state. Not only was this moment aesthetically pleasing but a climax in the excellent plot.
The freaks were multi-cast and delved in and out of different roles. The physical demands and precision of the show were met and uplifted by an extremely talented cast! Side Show is one of those productions where every single cast member is needed. They all exhibit a unique stage presence that put together deserves a thousand standing ovations. Louise Dearman and Laura Pitt-Pulford were fantastic in their portrayal of the Hilton twins. Their natural on stage chemistry allowed for us to believe them in this role. This was matched by a fantastic vocal range that truly left me in awe.I couldn’t recommend this production enough.
Do I think you should see this production?
You would be silly not to!
What do I rate it?
A solid 5/5
The production is currently running at the Southwark Playhouse until December 3rd. Tickets can be purchased: http://southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/show/side-show/#booking
Written for MTAS_Official by MTAS Admin