Wrapped up in a cocoon of characters like a theatrical Russian doll, we discover the enigma that is Grace. Grace is not comedy, not cabaret, not theatre, it is all of these components, threaded together in the body of one actor. One actor who plays many, many parts, in a gender-bending, time-melding, quick-stepping menagerie of theatrical homage.

a gender-bending, time-melding, quick-stepping menagerie of theatrical homage.

Through Alfie, Zora, Audrey and theatrical management slips Katie Reddin-Clancey, a performer to be reckoned with, the kind of individual you couldn’t pin down if you tried.

Grace plays with artifice, simultaneously using and doing away with it, like a magician that reveals their tricks. Tricking the eye and disorientating the mind by never staying in one place too long. “The game is ours to play” she says of acting, and she clearly revels in playing games with her audiences.

The costumes are a real highlight of this show and if you love dressing up you are in for a treat! Katie plays with feathers, top hats, beads, boas and a cane (among many other pieces) live in front of us. The wig cap is certainly an essential piece of costume.

“The difference between a boy and a girl… is marketing”, we are told explicitly by one of Katie’s array of characters, laying the cards of the gender fluidity conversation clearly on the table. The theatricality of Katie’s piece sets out the stall much more convincingly and charmingly than the array of unmemorable facts we are presented with, however. Even if they are under the guise of the clueless theatrical management.

The technical aspects of the show would benefit from some further attention to detail and development to really take Grace to the next level. When she sings, it is wonderful, but a lack of reverb leaves the dramatic moments feeling a bit flat in the unforgiving dark room at the bottom of the Gilded Balloon. There is a white spotlight for Katie’s centre stage moments, but seeing the flamboyance of Katie’s costumes and performance extend to the lighting effects would be a real treat.

Music so lifts the performance when it is there, and there is potential here too for revelling a little more in those vaudeville moments, for stirring the emotions, with some appropriate – or perhaps more daringly, clashing, notes.

Art is a strange thing. Like Katie’s performance, it is indefinable, of infinite variety – and there are “no resolutions” and “no refunds”, yet you can never really know what to expect!

embrace the carnivalesque

So, without further ado, come one, come all, come down and embrace the carnivalesque world of this unique performer’s mind.

Aug 19-27, 13:45, Run Time: 1 Hour.

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