Mrs Barbara Nice
Embracing the positive, eschewing the offensive
This article is from 2007.
Janice Connolly is a lady whose character’s fame far exceeds her own. Her creation, the ever-cheerful Mrs Barbara Nice, is returning to the Fringe with Hiya and Higher, and all the actress who manufactured her can do is allow herself to be swept along. Barbara is a simple-enough concept, a lower middle-class housewife who loves Take a Break and has decided to take to the stage for a change of scenery. There she proceeds to charm and gently patronise her audience as though taking charge of a rowdy playgroup, until they fall under the spell and are perfectly happy to laugh, clap and help her crowd-surf round a comedy gig.
In a typically chipper mood, her performance this year endeavours to alter our self-contained society so we’re not afraid to look each other in the eye and say ‘hiya!’ In a Festival full of political, ‘edgy’ or just plain offensive shows, it’s refreshing to have an act embracing the positive in such an extreme way, with all the cheesy bits gloriously celebrated. When you go, just don’t forget to say hello. You wouldn’t want to make her cross.
The Stand II, 558 7272, 3–26 Aug (not 13), 6.30pm, £9 (£8). Preview 2 Aug, 8.55pm, £8 (£7).