By Roger Childs
The versatile Ali Harper in top form
The multi-talented Ali Harper kicked off her 2013 Bombshell’s tour with a stirring performances at the Coaster Theatre . Joanna Murray Smith’s script, which incorporates solo portrayals of six different women, is the versatile actor’s dream but is also an enormous challenge spread over two hours.
Ali Harper attacked the roles with relish, enthusiasm and pizazz, and from the cat-suited teenager in a talent quest to the mid-sixties widow who reads to the blind, she had the audience hanging on every word and often rolling in the aisles with mirth.
The talented Harper in top form
It was a virtuoso performance from an actress at the top of her game and it is not hard to see why Ali is a former winner of a prestigious Chapman Tripp award. Starting with the highly stressed thirtyish mother of three to the washed up cabaret artiste of indeterminate age, Ali Harper never missed a beat and added plenty of her own.
She also showed her amazing versatility in amongst the utterly convincing portrayals of women from 14 to 64, by
- doing the hilarious voices of a couple of kids
- singing badly in a couple of roles: not easy for someone with such a wonderful voice as Ali
- covering an enormous range of emotions from sadness and stress to cynicism and passion.
The full range of female experience
It’s a play which provides plenty of life situations women can identify with and men can recognise. It takes a highly versatile actress to pull off this demanding assignment, especially as the six roles are so very different. Ali moved seamlessly between the roles, changing outfits unobtrusively at the back of the stage: new gear, new persona. This was a quality performance and all six of the women were portrayed with enthusiasm, panache and superb timing.