In Skagway – review

Theatre, Drama
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Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

The gold rush is finished. So is Frankie, a faded actress crippled by a stroke in the snowy wastes of Skagway, an Alaskan frontier town. What do you do when you’re trapped at the end of the world?

Memory, debt and regret underpin Karen Ardiff’s new play, set in late nineteenth-century Alaska. They bind Frankie (Angeline Ball) to the women of Skagway, all drawn by the lure of gold.

As Frankie’s loyal companion May (Geraldine Alexander) tends to her, May’s resentful daughter T-Belle (Kathy Rose O’Brien) tries desperately to get them out of a boom town ruined by prospectors.

The superb cast unearth nuggets of humour in the mournful script. Ball’s hard-nosed coquettishness as a younger Frankie in flashback is matched by the quiet resilience of Alexander’s birdlike May.

Director Russell Bolam unfolds the play’s tale of survival with poetic intensity. As Frankie’s mind unspools, we see back into her past as first meetings and secrets are revealed like retinal images by sudden bursts of light.

‘In Skagway’ is full of great things, including Natasha Starkey’s sparky performance as a tough, sardonic prostitute. But its short scenes feel too fragmented – a sequence of evocative vignettes rather than a gelled whole.

And how exactly did the three women end up in Alaska? We never really find out, which matters in a play where the journey from past to present is so important.

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Details

Event website: http://www.arcolatheatre.com
Event phone: 020 7503 1646

Users say (2)

5 out of 5 stars