By Isabella Fraser
Clairvoyant is loosely (very loosely) hung around the idea that a girl who auditions to sing for a popular reality TV show actually has a talent for clairvoyance. While this is never actually explained on stage, it is shown through a range of quirky, off-beat characters, who pop up and show snippets from their lives. If this show was billed as a series of impressions, it might reach a wider audience – this seems to be where it more naturally falls.
Bettine Mackenzie, the writer and performer of this show, is an extremely talented character actor. Mackenzie manages to transform seamlessly between the auditionee to the individual characters and back. How quickly the audience manages to pick up on what is occurring with the different characters is a testament to the quality of writing and performance that Mackenzie brings to the stage. These characters are all recognizable – and become real people, rather than a caricature. Her physicality in particular is exceptionally skillful.
There are four different characters who pop into the show, other than the girl who is performing – these are of a type, but amusing and, because of Mackenzie’s clarity and commitment, the audience wants to know more. There is much fun to be had in the section where a lady in the local church committee wants to track down a biscuit thief – the punchline is delivered so seriously that it feels wrong to laugh, but Mackenzie’s writing is right on the button for capturing the truth of the scenario. The other scenes are equally amusing and sad: Mackenzie is great at seeing the humanity – and flaws – inside people.
This was not quite the show which was described in the promotional material – the clairvoyance element is fleeting, if that, and never dealt with; the wannabe pop singer is performed well, but would probably work better as a contained scene, rather than the thread that goes through the piece. Nonetheless, Mackenzie is adept at making character studies and this show indicates there is much more to come from this accomplished writer/performer.