A VAIN and vile 1960s soap star, scared she’s about to be killed off by the BBC? It’s a delicious-sounding dish of tragi-comedy if ever there was one.
Taunton Thespians’ all-female cast this week presents The Killing of Sister George by Frank Marcus with Jane Edwards as gin-swilling fictional actress June Buckridge – and, by jove, this Tacchi-Morris show is worth a watch.
June Buckridge is a wounded woman. For six years she has devoted her life to the part of moped-riding district nurse Sister George in radio soap Applehurst.
Now her world’s in disarray.
“They’re going to murder me … I’ve suspected it for some time,” says George, dramatically, in her inspector-style trench coat. Out comes the spyglass.
Suspect item one? The BBC’s “woman of advice”, the merciless Mrs Mercy Croft, has George’s personal file in her possession.
Then there’s the drop in ratings, an alcohol-fuelled run-in with nuns, Tarot cards and Clarabelle the Cow, all adding up to one rather sticky end.
Marcus would be thrilled with the Thespians’ production; how skilfully the cast play their parts of chalk and cheese.
Lucy Monaghan is effortless as Childie/Alice, the vulnerable girl-woman of 34, her enthusiastic lilt disguising her pains at trying to keep George happy.
Mrs Mercy (the flawless Alison Haines) would enrage BBC3’s fans with her faux concern for George’s plight for the sake of the ratings, her Queen’s English and her habit of calling Broadcasting House ‘BH’.
Jane Leaky is a diamond as the expressive, statuesque clairvoyant Madame Xenia; a costumier’s darling.
As ‘George’, Jane just ‘gets’ her volatility, theatrical r-rolling, aggression and malaise: I can’t imagine better.
With Petula Clark, Tom Jones and The Animals in the show’s soundtrack, go and buy your tickets (£12/£4 from 01823-414141 or tacchi-morris.com) while they’re hot.
The show runs until Saturday.