In the basement of the New Town Theatre, Gael Le Cornec transports us to the favelas of Brazil in The Last Days of Gilda, an impressive one-handed character study from Alter Theatre Company which gives a glimpse of one woman’s life amongst poverty and passion.
Gilda lives alone in Rio de Janeiro, eking a living from keeping and slaughtering chickens and pigs to sell at the local market. With dreams of love and fame, and cursed by crippling stomach cramps, she tells her tale of being regarded by her neighbours as a evil: a slut, whore and puta.
Le Cornec gives a gripping and expressive performance in the intimate space, on a single set which depicts her modest home. Using elements of mime, she depicts Gilda as a genuine, passionate and tragic figure. Sheets hanging on a washing line therefore become the men who flit in and out of her life; a towel becomes a chicken; and a wooden box becomes an oven before being flipped over to represent a coffin.
Although Gilda’s life is bleak, The Last Days of Gilda is filled with moments of humour and hope. Le Cornec is a versatile performer, and her interaction with and asides to the audience give the piece a warmth and charm which it may otherwise have lacked.
A poignant and well-acted study of one woman reaching for the stars, The Last Days of Gilda is a bittersweet and tender piece which reminds us we should always spread the wings of our hopes and dreams, no matter where or who we are.
6- 28 Aug (not Tuesdays) at 14:50, New Town Theatre – more info here