First performed at the Edinburgh Fringe festival in 2016, THANKS BUT NO THANKS is a tragic-comic autobiographical one-woman show with storytelling and music. The show is set in the dressing room of a ‘well known’ actress (never seen) and it is the reminiscences of Lesley lightfoot, the much put upon ‘understudy’ with ‘light wardrobe duties’.
The setup for the chat with the audience is really very good – for one reason or another Miss Lightfoot finds herself stranded in the star’s dressing room and with nothing else to do she begin’s to reminisce about her childhood and fascinating stuff it is too.
Lesley Lightfoot grew up in the late 1950s early 1960s in a Jewish community in North London – her father a taxi driver and her mother a hairdresser. There are photos and anecdotes and this I found utterly charming and insightful.
Then Lesley Lightfoot tells us about her haphazard entry into the theatre, a friend tells her about a dance class and it all begins. I particularly enjoyed her complaints about always having to play the boy parts – because there were no real boys!
At this point, I feel rather sorry for Lesley Lightfoot and all the would be working class actors of this period. It is clear she was not advised about career paths in the way that modern children are, there was no Stage Coach or summer school workshops. In short, there was little structure or development in theatre training and it meant that talented young people like the young Lesley Lightfoot were passed over by a profession that seemed to care little for the aspirations of the working class.
Unable to enter the profession as a performer – Lesley Lightfoot becomes a wardrobe mistress … and then…
This was a truly interesting one woman show – full of socio-historical references – fascinating stuff.
Review by Michael Moor
Lesley Lightfoot- Cinderella of showbiz, sings, sews, skates through her story THANKS BUT NO THANKS in the eternal hope that one day she will get to the ball. Lesley has had her nose pressed up against the theatre world window for longer than she’d care to remember.
In this warm, witty and slightly caustic show she recounts a glitzy career from her side of the glass. A tragi-comic tale of hair. hard work, hot pants, dance, ironing, charm and frustration.
THANKS BUT NO THANKS is based on Lesley Lightfoot’s wealth of theatre experience as costume/wardrobe supervisor on many West End shows including Wardrobe Mistress on the original London production of Cats and her extensive experience as a Fringe performer. Take a glimpse behind the scenes of the showbiz industry.
Directed and accompanied by Huw Thomas, founder of the comedy club Downstairs At The Kings Head.
THANKS BUT NO THANKS
By LESLEY LIGHTFOOT
The Hope Theatre
207 Upper Street
London N1 1RL