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The Killing of Sister George – The New Vic Theatre

Written by on 9 May 2023

The Killing of Sister George – by Frank Marcus

A ‘New Vic Theatre’ and ‘Told by an Idiot’ Co-production

This is a play written in the 1964, made into a film 1968 and now, re-invented for the modern audience by ‘The New Vic Theatre’ and ‘Told by an Idiot’.

This was one of the best plays I have seen for a long time (and we have seen some amazing productions) mainly due to the incredible casting – Hayley Carmichael playing June Buckeridge (sister George), Rina Fatania as Madame Xenia, Patrycja Kujawska playing Mercy Croft and Ada Player as Alice aka Childie.  Just the four ladies throughout – each giving a first-rate performance, completely immersed in their character.  Having spoken to Hayley Carmichael in the run-up the play I am amazed at the transformation on stage from the lovely, extremely modest, softly spoken lady to the feisty character I saw on stage.  Each actress gave an outstanding, authentic performance.

The play is a mixture of light and dark – there were laugh out loud moments and moments that were completely silent, perhaps a little uncomfortable, but these awkward moments were balanced by the rest of the play.

The onstage cast were matched by the offstage team – with vibrant, thought provoking sounds including music and sound effects, exciting and relevant use of lighting and of course remarkable direction from Paul Hunter.

The set was impressive with a good use of props and puppetry –  all made in the New Vic Workshop.  There was good use of different levels with a staircase being in the centre with characters walking up and down and some of the action even taking place up in the control room.  The integration of ‘the radio’ and the ‘real world’ was very cleverly done with ‘radio sound effects’ being used perfectly throughout the whole play – and then pushed a little further to add comedy.  Excellent.  Plus some lovely ‘audience interaction’.

I’m not going to talk about the plot – suffice to say ‘The Killing of Sister George’ is a compelling, entertaining, play that stays with you.  It is a very intricate play and, I have to say it again, the performances at our wonderful theatre in the round by the four actresses were absolutely flawless.  All first timers at The New Vic, but hopefully, we will see them again.

‘The killing of Sister George’ is on at the New Vic Theatre until Saturday 13th May.  A must see, 5 Star production.

(Photographs courtesy of Andrew Billington)