‘Confidence’ review

Theatre, Drama
2 out of 5 stars
 (© Helen Murray)
1/5
© Helen Murray Tanya Burr (Ella)
 (© Helen Murray)
2/5
© Helen Murray Anna Crichlow (Ruby) and Will Pattle (Dean)
 (© Helen Murray)
3/5
© Helen Murray Rhys Yates (Ben) and Will Pattle (Dean)
 (© Helen Murray)
4/5
© Helen Murray Tanya Burr (Ella), Will Pattle (Dean) and Rhys Yates (Ben)
 (© Helen Murray)
5/5
© Helen Murray Will Pattle (Dean)

YouTube star Tanya Burr is out of her league in this ’90s revival

YouTube Sensation Tanya Burr – who’s built up a pretty astonishing online brand by vlogging on make-up, fashion, baking etc – is trying to make the unusual but not unprecedented leap from social media to stage. Good luck to her. I can’t imagine there are many theatre companies that would turn down the free marketing that comes with 3.1 million Twitter followers (3.1 million! That’s more than Corbyn!)

There’s just one problem: Tanya Burr can’t really act. And that’s a bit of an issue for Boundless Theatre’s revival of Judy Upton’s 1998 play ‘Confidence’ in which Burr is making her theatrical debut.

Rob Drummer’s company want to make theatre for people aged 15-25. Slick, sexy theatre for people who haven’t been jaded by too many dispiriting RSC marathons (hi) or ground into nothing by relentlessly patchy fringe fare (hi again). Theatre for people who binge-watch ‘Designated Survivor’. Theatre for the kids.

So they cast a big name from YouTube to pique their intended audience’s interest. So far, so good. After that, though, everything falls apart. Or rather, at the swelteringly, brow-beadingly stuffy last preview, everything melts into meaninglessness.

You can just about make out a decent-ish play underneath Drummer’s production. A wacky, episodic escapade set in a south coast resort, it sees Ella (Burr) use a combination of sexuality and savvy to wheeler-deal her way towards a fortune. But you have to really strain to see it.

Nothing really clicks over a torturous hour-and-45. Amelia Jane Hankin’s neon-lit, garishly carpeted set is less weather-beaten promenade, more Wetherspoon’s. Burr adopts an increasingly irritating sing-song rhythm for almost every line and insists on pronouncing every single syllable perfectly, which doesn’t at all chime with her hoop-earringed, tank-topped character. A mismatched supporting cast don’t fare much better, variously sweating or stumbling their way through the script without a hint of subtext.

So yeah. Burr might get the young people through the theatre door. But I can’t see ‘Confidence’ making them want to come back.

BY: FERGUS MORGAN

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