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The Missionary's Position (Plymouth)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Bringing life to the famously forgotten, Penny Dreadful continues its quest with Bernadette Russell’s The Missionary’s Position.

The sorry tale of the Prostitute’s Padre bounces onto the stage with old-style music hall exuberance complete with sing-a-long and contrived theatricality.

With the Reverend Harold Davidson (Greg Haiste) an unwitting player, his sorry tale unfolds amid a cast of thousands - Soho ladies of the night, landed gentry, grasping landladies, vaudeville vamps, ghastly families, twisted servants, flower girls and more – all played by the versatile Mira Dovreni and Sarah Ratheram.

With Matt Devereaux tightly controlling the enthusiastic players as master of ceremonies (and Cleese-esque militant major / railroading bishop) from the piano, this is a bawdy and engaging fast and furious 90 unbroken minutes.

The Vicar of Stiffkey (yep all the seeds of double-entendre are present, no wonder the trial reports knocked Hilter’s climb to power off the front pages!) is an interesting if poignant story of the rise and fall of an eccentric genius who returns to his first love – the stage – after being publicly humiliated and defrocked after the accusations of a solitary ‘working’ girl (played charismatically by Marie Lawrence).

Phil Eddolls’ resourceful set, a handful of props and a couple of costume changes are all that this talented cast needs – other than an un-shockable audience ready for a spot of fun, a bit of joining in and not a lot of thinking.


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