Showmanship (4 stars)

This article is from 2018


Meandering towards a terse tale of betrayal and revival

Myra Collins is a fraud of a psychic working in a two-bit travelling circus in dust bowl 1930s America. She'll offer a tarot reading – and invent her interpretation on the spot, of course. But the most important thing she offers in these dark desperate times is hope, something she's fast running out of herself.

BoonDog Theatre's enthralling solo show, written and given a gripping performance by Lucy Roslyn, is sassy, thoughtful and darkly witty. Roslyn's script – taking in Collins' taste for the seedier sides of entertainment, and the loss of her beloved mother to a man she despises, among many scarcely believable episodes – might at first seem free-form and meandering. But it gradually coalesces in a telling exploration of disillusion and betrayal, determination and resilience.

Roslyn is spellbinding as Collins, her face flickering with restless thoughts as she recounts her far-fetched story, her voice dripping with sarcasm and tossing out knowing asides, yet finally breaking into unrestrained emotion.

Showmanship is a modest, understated affair, with just a tableful of candles and an exotic, peacock-feathered costume – plus a couple of tiny but telling special effects – to create atmosphere. But it's a captivating, thoroughly bewitching hour of theatre nonetheless, and one with dark resonances for our own troubled times.

C royale, until 27 Aug, 5.40pm, £7.50–£9.50 (£6.50–£7.50).


  • 4 stars

BoonDog Theatre ‘You want hope? Make me an offer.' 1935: a two-bit circus travels Dust Bowl America. Desperate townspeople need hope but, when the fortune teller names her price, what'll they be willing to pay? But is she an oracle, or just another charlatan? Darkly funny psychological thriller, laced with poignancy and…