Company: Penash Productions
Venue: 24 - West End Cultural Centre
Take all of Charles Dickens' greatest novels. Go on, take 'em! Tales that scale the heights of melodrama and plummet into the depths of pathos. Stories of the painfully virtuous pitted against the deliciously wicked. Now squeeze dozens of Dickensian characters into the body of one tightly corseted New Zealander by the name of Penny Ashton and you get Olive Copperbottom, Ashton's follow-up to her wildly successful send-up of Jane Austen, Promise and Promiscuity.
Ashton is a one-woman-show wonder. Switching between a cast of characters with ease and grace, even when a sound cue goes amiss or she falters on a line, Ashton is such a consummate performer that she takes it all in stride. Her Russian accent is hilarious, her duet surprisingly touching, and the fight scenes are weirdly believable.
My sole dispute is with the length of the show. At 75 minutes running time, it's just a wee bit too much of a good thing. Penny Ashton's energy never faltered, but mine did.
Music hall for the modern age; Olive Copperbottom is a delicious slice of Victoriana with something to please every palate. - Michelle Palansky
Music hall for the modern age; Olive Copperbottom is a delicious slice of Victoriana with something to please every palate.