The Perfect Spot/ Illicit

26 Jul 2007 in Dance & Drama, Highland

Spectrum Centre, Inverness, 25 July 2007

Jackie Goode in Illicit.

BEING AT that awkward age between children and grandchildren, it is a while since I went to a kids’ show. “The Perfect Spot” was a great way to re-enter the heady world of cartoons and clowns.

Billed as “A Fun Filled Forty Five Minutes for all the Family”, it did exactly what it said on the packet. Cartoon Theatre’s highly innovative front projection techniques supplied all the scenery plus a wide range of animated characters, from butterflies and rabbits to raging – and bicycling – bulls.

On stage, Brian Smith’s very lovely hero, accompanied on a camping trip by his faithful teddy bear and some rebelliously smelly socks, battled everything from the dreaded clouds of midges and a thunderstorm to a very scary bear, at whose entrance one small member of the audience screamed and scrambled tearfully into her mother’s lap.

I must confess that if my Mum had been there, the possibility of following suit would not have been ruled out. The bear was swiftly pacified with a chocolate bar and the sobs subsided. As in all good childrens’ shows, there was plenty of eager audience participation, including the immortal cries of “He’s behind you!”

“The Perfect Spot” is the Perfect Show to while away a dreich summer morning, of which we are having far too many. Suitable for every age, give yourself a treat and take the bairns along even if the sun is shining – but if they, or you, are of a tender disposition, perhaps best not sit in the front row…

Radio 4 has the Afternoon Play; the Spectrum Centre had the real thing in three dimensions as part of InvernessFest. Right Lines, heroes to most of us after the sublime “Accidental Death of an Accordionist”, have done it again with ‘Illicit’.

It’s a pun-derful look at the corporate world, with on-target satirical sideswipes at the cosmetic and perfumery industry and the pawkiness of large parts of Scottish tourism. However, at the wildly beating heart of this comedy is a woman’s place in the world of power dressing and Power Point.

Anyone of either gender who has ever started up a small business will recognise the trials that Winnie Grant has to overcome in order to win the coveted Young Enterprising Entrepreneur Highland Award, starting with the dreaded interview with the bank manager and staggering out from the local Enterprise Company office weighed down with mountains of bumf.

Any working mother will – with a rueful grin – recognise herself as, in a spectacular display of clowning by Jackie Goode, stiletto-shod Winnie tries to project a business-like demeanour over the phone while simultaneously trying to hush the baby, finish the ironing and find someone’s gymkit.

Goode does full justice to Euan Martin and Dave Smith’s script, which tumbles out joke after joke in an overwhelming profusion. Brian Smith and Greg Geddes appear onscreen in a display of technical wizardry which moves the whole show into another dimension, and technician Brian Gorman deserves his own round of applause for actually making the wizardry work in both shows. The audience, entirely female, enjoyed every moment and would happily have stayed for more.

© Jennie Macfie, 2007