Sandy Beach, Manchester’s Drag Queen extraordinaire is getting married – but will her day go without a hitch? Sandy Beach has a dream wedding to organise, but doesn’t have the time to do it, so she enlists her big boned sister Wendy. But a disaster as huge as Wendy’s mid-morning snack is looming. Can Sandy sing her way out of yet another catastrophe?
New Attitude have a history of funny, surreal and witty plays (Onions Cry Too, Three’s a Crowd, Fly by Night) and are back for another winner as part of Manchester Pride Fringe with their first full-length musical. It’s fair to say that the opening night audience (incidentally, a sell-out) was eagerly anticipating the action with the Northern Quarter’s Three Minute Theatre packed to the rafters.
Telling the story of a love triangle between bitchy drag queen Sandy Beach, mercilessly bullied sister Wendy House and the suave Michel, Someone Borrowed, Someone’s Blue is a hysterical journey through a car-crash wedding. One audience member screeched in laughter part way through “It’s just like Jeremy Kyle” and indeed it is – just a whole lot funnier.
Dale Vicker is at his best as the bitchy Cher-impersonating Sandy Beach. Needlessly acerbic in some circumstances, she just can’t help herself and is blinkered to everything going on around her – including the intense hurt that she causes. But why should she be aware – after all, she’s just got a thrice-weekly chat show on local TV. This could be her big break, and with her husband-to-be in the wings, what could possibly go wrong?
As the groom in question, Phil Clift has every right to look nervous as Michel given the horrendous misunderstanding that has triggered the wedding. Michel is left looking entertainingly out of his depth as events conspire against him. Michel also highlights the distinctly local script from Alasdair Jarvie – Michel is obviously posh as his name is “double-barreled, he’s from Cheadle Hulme of course”.
Rachel Wareing’s performance as Wendy is likely to be the one that sticks in people’s minds. The initial jokes about weight and Wendy being a ‘loser magnet’ suddenly become much more hurtful and take on an emotive and much crueler significance in a moving and well-pitched sequence.
Elsewhere, Kimberley Barrett vamps her way across the stage as Sandy’s predatory agent Harry leading to some awkwardly hilarious encounters. Lee Eakins is welcoming as the social lynchpin the group revolve around as the forgotten Lorenzo whilst Jade Fearnley, Ryan Laskey and Sarah Morgan give vital physical and vocal support as Sandy’s Be-@ches and are worth keeping your eye on for their facial reactions as events unfold. And with Mark Rowlands’ unforgettable entrance as Vernoique, the scene is set for the wedding from hell – or is it?
Jarvie’s script is an utter riot, filled with funny one-liners and amusing moments and director Brainne Edge’s background in comedy is utilised to outstanding effect for an appreciative audience. Although billed as a musical, the music is more of a framework to the story, and welcome that it is, it isn’t essential. It might be tricky to find actors who can sing but on the whole, Someone Borrowed, Someone’s Blue manages with some convincing performances.
Feeling like a final performance rather than an opening night, this was a surprisingly polished start to what I suspect will be a sell-out run for Someone Borrowed, Someone’s Blue. Fun, heartwarming and entertaining, I’d advise you pick up your ticket now for the wedding of the summer and New Attitude’s finest production to date.
The Fiction Stroker gives Someone Borrowed, Someone’s Blue: The Musical four strokes out of five:
Someone Borrowed, Someone’s Blue runs until Thursday 22 Aug at 3MT, Oldham Street. Tickets available from here.