Emma Clair Ford. Austral Hotel - The Bunka, Mar 1 to 11
Lila Gray is not your average southern belle. As neurotic a soul as you could ever have the misfortune to be cursed with, she is easily bored, impulsively evil, and very, very disturbed. Oh, but also very funny!
In this dark cabaret comedy, written and performed by Emma Clair Ford with accompaniment from Matthew Carey, we are introduced to Lila and the many lives that she has co-inhabited. A sentient being, she is randomly assigned to humans with the responsibility of helping to guide the path of their lives. Unfortunately, all too often these partnerships end prematurely as Lila has a tendency for encouraging homicidal thoughts and activities when bored.
This is a hugely enjoyable show that is well written and executed. Both comic and captivating, Ford reveals herself to be an accomplished actor as well as a beautiful vocalist. She cloaks herself in Lila so masterfully that you find yourself completely immersed as you watch. Having conquered the Southern accent, Ford's Welsh effort needs just a little more refining to improve consistency, but this is a small criticism in a brilliant piece.
Nights like these are a wonderful reminder of the importance of the Fringe festivals. While it can sometimes feel like you are wadding through an ocean of mud to find glimmers of hidden genius, it's all worth it when you see a show like this. Simply a pleasure to experience, it deserves a forum on which it can be seen and heard, and we deserve the chance to enjoy it. Bravo.