By Isabella Fraser
A period drama based on the real life secret society of young ladies in Edinburgh who wanted to study pursuits such as – shock, horror – geography, history and poetry, this new play by writer and comedian Lucy Porter, is a gorgeously sumptuous slice of wit, humour and entertainment. Porter’s writing is intellectually sharp and lively: we may be watching a period drama but there is much that correlates to today’s world and the place of women and nation within it.
Director Marilyn Imrie has created a charming, stylish and beautifully paced piece of work. The performance never flags, as the scenes change effortlessly and seamlessly from onstage action to audience interaction. Being able to incorporate discussion with the audience and then leap back into the narrative without making it seem clunky or forced, is an indication of the skill with which writer Porter and director Imrie have created a world that the audience then becomes part of: we are that society.
The three performers are perfectly cast and there are no weak links. The camaraderie sparkles on stage and each actor has exquisite moments of passion and poignancy where we recognize their aspirations and fears: these are teenage girls with teenage hopes who dare to dream of something better. The ending was surprisingly emotional – and inspiring as we found the parallel to today’s modern world.
There was barely a free seat in the audience and deservedly so. Book your tickets to see this as soon as possible – you do not want to miss out on this hidden gem.
The Fair Intellectual Club runs until 24 August (not 11) in Studio 2 at The Assembly Rooms at 11.00am. Running time is 1 hour.