1 February 2014

The Ugly Sisters at Soho Theatre

The Ugly Sisters sounded different and I like different so I constructed a day around going to see it. In the end the day went gallery, gallery, theatre, gallery, theatre and this was the first theatre of the day.

The difference was obvious from the start as there was a  three-piece band playing as we filed in to the main theatre.

Music was to feature throughout the show, though there was not enough of it for me to call it a musical, more a play with some songs and music. The musicians also played some of the characters.

The only other characters were the Ugly Sisters.

This was their story told from their perspective in their way. And their way was a boisterous and energetic mix of narration, acting, dancing and, yes, music.

The basic story was obviously familiar, though this was a modern telling of Cinderella with the glass slipper replaced by a reality TV show where the three sisters made it to the final stages.

The story leading up to that denouement was sympathetic towards the Ugly Sisters, and not just because they told it. They were never bright or pretty and when their mother married again they because second favourites to the pretty Arabella.

It was a very personal and emotional story with some ups and more downs. Along the way they got through lots of costumes and a few props in a very lively and fun performance. The (not that) Ugly Sisters were excellent and the musicians played their part too as they competed to see who could play the most instruments.

The Ugly Sisters revelled in its weirdness, telling an unusual story unusually. And that is why I liked it so much.

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