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The Sellotape Sisters by Lee Mattinson at Tristan Bates Theatre

Sellotape SistersThis is no place for incestuous, same sex, canoodling.
The Sellotape Sisters takes us back to 1966, a journey back to an era when soaps were watched by everyone and being homosexual was not only frowned upon but illegal. Which given the three characters are all homosexual sets the undercurrent of the entire play. Ethel Lewis-Lane (Charlotte Weston) and Phyllis Dix (Kellie Batchelor) are getting ready to record the last episode of their long running soap opera Sellotape Sisters which has, for some unfathomable reason, been cancelled. It doesn’t however take their long suffering supporting actor Rupert de Menthe (Jonny Freeman) to point out that the scriptwriters have included parts of their personal lives and reveal Lady Cordelia (Ethel) and Lady Diana (Phyllis) have in fact been “homosexual lesbians” for some time. How will they deal with the extremely public outing? Do they go along with it, fake fainting on set, fake their own deaths or just run away from it all?

For me the play really gets going on the comedy front when we have the three actors recording the final episode. There is over-acting, missed cues, script deviation, more over-acting and just general hamming up and farcical nature of the whole scene. This does make for a funny play though and it is acted superbly by all three. There are gentle nods to the serious homosexuality theme during that era but these are overlooked for the humour and quick gags. It’s billed as a comedy though so that’s to be expected, I would have just liked more around the emotional sections that did get drowned by being surrounded by gags. Be warned there is bad language, not terrible and extreme, in this play. Although it is mainly used for the comical aspect, such as, “He called me the C word… and I don’t mean cunt” which was quite amusing.

All in all well worth going to watch. It is well written and superbly acted. The set and lighting are both minimal and functional. A good way to spend an hour if you want a laugh.

4 stars

Review by Lee Cogger

It’s 1966. Legendary soap opera Sellotape Sisters (the pretensions of Downton, the production values of Crossroads) is being cancelled.
With no ideas left for the final episode, the writers’ raid the actors’ private lives for storylines. In shock and denial, and with the last live broadcast looming and twenty-two million viewers watching, will the cast stick to the script?
Find out as Noises Off meets The Killing of Sister George (via Acorn Antiques) in this outrageous, farcical and ultimately heartfelt new play from former Coronation Street storyliner Lee Mattinson, fresh from its hit run at the Brighton Fringe

CAST
Ethel Lewis-Lane (Lady Cordelia) Charlotte Weston
Phyllis Dix (Lady Diana) Kellie Batchelor
Rupert de Menthe (Carlito) Jonny Freeman

CREATIVE TEAM
Writer Lee Mattinson
Director Robert Wolstenholme
Designer Christopher Hone
Sound Designer Neil KcKeown
Lighting Designer Robert Wolstenholme
Producer Robert Wolstenholme
Producer Kellie Batchelor
Technical Manager Malachy Orozco

Tristan Bates Theatre
1A Tower St, Covent Garden
WC2H 9NP
Monday 15th – Saturday 20th August 2016.

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