The studio area of Maskers Theatre Company is a small intimate space seating around forty people, it gives you the sense of being a part of the action, witnessing the play almost as a participant. This works incredibly well in the killing of Sister George as all the events we see take place in one room of a London flat that overlooks BBC Broadcasting house.
The set is wonderful and looks exactly as I would imagine a flat from the sixties should. There are lots of nice touches, including ducks on the wall Adam Taussik together with Angela Stansbridge deserve a lot of credit for creating an evocative space. The costumes too. Bonnie Kaye and Meri Mackney, were right for the period with each of the four characters well defined by what they are wearing.
Directing for Maskers for the first time Kristina Wilde keeps the play moving along with plenty of variation in pace and hitting all the emotional highs and lows. There are some wonderful comedic moments leaving some of the audience giggling for long periods and laughing out loud at the climax.
Sisiter George, Sarah Russell is a beloved character in a long running BBC radio play, Applehurst. The actress playing her however is an abusive person who takes out all her frustrations on whoever is nearest, usually her partner. She has many masculine characteristics stemming from her time in World War Two in the army, I think some of these character traits are possibly not necessary as her abusiveness is enough to show how she views herself, The switches in her personality are fast and show how calculating she really is.
Childie, Joanna Iacovou is Sister George's partner. Lesbians in a time where homosexuality, between men was illegal and between women was still hidden. Childie has dolls and is completely submissive to the abusive Sister George. Her fear was palpable and her pleading for rescue heartfelt and honest.
Mrs Mercy, Meri Mackney is a delight, a BBC exec who has the unenviable task of informing Sister George that her character is about to be written out of the show. With perfect clipped tones, twin set and pearls and tottering around the stage on high heels could she be the rescue Childie is looking for? With excellent comic timing she steals every scene she is in and fully commands the stage.
Living in the downstairs flat we have the slightly odd Madame Xenia, Jill Desborough. A Fortune teller and emotional support for Sister George her accent wanders around Europe and leaves me wondering if she is a fraud? Wonderfully eccentric and every bit the mystic she gives a great performance.
I feel there is a lack of chemistry between the two-main characters and I never really believed in their relationship, this is a shame as there is a great set, perfect props and some strong performances.This is a good show... But it falls just short of being great.