Company: Yorkshire Pudding Productions, Auckland, New Zealand
Genre: Musical Theatre
Venue: 1 - John Hirsch Theatre at the MTC Mainstage
"Promise and Promiscuity" is a textbook example of how to do a great one woman show.
New Zealander Penny Ashton is a delight to behold in this one-woman pastiche of Jane Austen and modern culture, and you'll be delighted whether or not you know your Bennets from your Dashwoods.
All you need know is that Elspeth Slowtree dreams of intellectual as well as romantic fulfillment, but the society of Winnipegshire conspires to deny her the former and dictate the latter. Plus there's musical numbers.
Ashton will make sure you get the rest. She plays eight characters (I might be missing someone), each with distinctive voices and mannerisms. She sings, accompanied by flawlessly executed music composed and produced by Robbie Ellis that mashes up classical pieces and modern hits ("Beethoven's Fifth Symphony" and "You Give Love a Bad Name," for example). She dances and flows around the stage for 90 minutes, almost never leaving the audience's sight, and never once letting go of its attention.
She also wrote the script, which is packed with cheekily clever wordplay and double entendres, but is also genuinely moving in making its point with Eslpeth's story.
All in all, Promise and Promiscuity
is a textbook example of how to do a great one woman show.