In an enjoyable hour of chortling, Lizzie Bates, one third of the successful ‘Boom Jennies’, assumes the identities of several women behaving, well, perhaps not as well as they should be behaving. In this slightly immersive character comedy, Bates extrapolates and explores the less salubrious flights of fancy that surely cross the inhibited and secretive minds of even the most outwardly sane women. Well, haven’t you ever wanted to invite your hot neighbour into extramarital relations in his paddling pool, downing a dozen bottles of Lambrini, while his wife looks on from the upstairs window?
From an air raid warden charged with entertaining her neighbours in the shelter and eventually succumbing to the temptation of one unfortunate individual’s nudity, to the junkie yuppie mummy who has lost her bike, oh, and her children, Bates chooses a nice timbre in which to characterise the insanities of these wild female characters – while thankfully keeping it on just the right side of any potential charges of anti-feminism. Her performance from beginning to end is a right giggle inducer, and would go very nicely with a glass of red.
Relaxed and unintimidating audience participation certainly kept us all on our very receptive toes – I did feel slightly sorry for the man who had to dissect and eat, properly mind, a Big Mac and chips under the direction of Miss Hildeburg of Ze Swiss Finishing School for Ze Laydeez. It was a charming performance with something a little bit Lumley in its energy and nonchalant absurdity. It relies a lot on familiar comic situations – we’ve all seen Bridget Jones style public speaking before – and some of the characters are fairly similar, but it didn’t make it less funny in the least, and perhaps that’s what made it such a comforting watch.
Review by Annemarie Hiscott
LIZZIE BATES: REPROBATES
Reprobates brings together a collection of quirky characters from all walks of life – Judith; a doctor’s receptionist who you can’t get past without a thumb-wrestle, Paula; the lady who has adopted her neighbour’s hot tub for her own, and meet WWII ‘darling’, Winnie; the queen of the air raid shelter who is offering the local menfolk more than just a safe place to hide.
Lizzie’s unique collection of unorthodox rebels is a ballsy, brassy character comedy debut from an exceptionally talented comedy actress.
As part of the The Boom Jennies, Lizzie has appeared in two BBC Radio 4 series. Along with writing partner, and fellow Boom Jennie, Anna Emerson, Lizzie won the 2013 BAFTA Rocliffe prize for new comedy screenwriters. Their winning script, New Habits, was performed at the New York TV Festival as part of the ‘Future of British Comedy’ showcase.
Among other credits, Lizzie has appeared in BBC Radio 4’s Sketchorama, written sketches for ITV’s Off Their Rockers, starred in the pilot for primetime BBC1 show, Richard Hammond’s Secret Service, and played a zombie Princess Diana in the short film Misguided.
Winner BAFTA Rocliffe Forum 2013
‘The future of British Comedy’ BAFTA
LIZZIE BATES: REPROBATES
Etcetera Theatre, London – Wednesday 12 November 2014
Thursday 13th November 2104