Britain`s Got Fashion, where the African inspired designs for the more voluptious woman made by Olufamba are being paraded on the catwalk of a shopping centre, Westland.
Gillian is a TV & Film producer with 30 years professional experience who is now producing a reality TV programme, Paula Benson as Gillian expertly plays a matriarcial figure to the other women, keeping them in line. Britain`s Got Fashion reality TV show is being presented by Monaco, a London socialite who from her clipped PR accent, suggests she has been born into privilege & values material wealth for herself & in others. Sassy Clyde is brilliant as Monaco, satirising the character flaws of Monaco, while playing her with honesty. “ You`re a wallet shagger.” Candy accuses Monaco as an aside.
Candy Peel is a sometime Burlesque performer, with curves who has helped Olufamba from her early days selling her designs on a market stall & is now walking the catwalk of Westland for her friend. Previously known as Candy Floss because in her own words, she`s big, fluffy& pink, she`s a straight talking Northern lass perfectly brought to life by Beth Johnston.
Gabriella is a professional model with years of experience behind her. “Models don`t retire, they grow old disgracefully.” She purrs as she gyrates disgracefully. Meryl Griffiths skillfully portrays Gabriella as a tough yet sensitive woman.
Leanne is a 16 year old model who has been scouted from the backstreets of Tower Hamlets, one of the UK`s most deprived boroughs & speaks in the vernacular of Londons working class youth, or as Monaco states, “You talk like a real gangster.” Eleanor Hurrell perfectly portrays Leanne as an impressionable London teenager, a product of her enviroment & starving herself to stay wafer thin.
Olufamba brilliantly played by Melanie Gayle, realises that she has been chosen as a token BAME, to tick the boxes for successful funding. “Diversity bullshit” she remarks,” BAME is demeaning & is a form of racism.” Olufamba wants to be accepted on her merit & talent as a designer, not just part of a box ticking exercise.
David Bottomley has written characters who are real & the actors bring them to life perfectly. David Bottomley raises many issues in his writing of Britain`s Got Fashion, such as the disparity in fees being paid, Monaco getting £35,000, while the designer is getting £1000 & Candy & Leanne geting a few hundred pounds, highlighting the obscene wealth divide in our society. Diversity. Class, privilige & the lengths people will go to for 15 minutes of fame & societies addiction to celebrity culture. Tragedy strikes when there`s an alleged terrorist attack at Westland and there are casualties.
Directed by Velenzia Spearpoint, the production is fluid, the characters beleiveable & despite their character flaws, likeable & beleiveable. With live theatre, unintentional things can happen & when a small section of the set collapsed, the cast worked around it ingeniously, improvising with ease. Remedied at the interval by Stage Manager, Bethany Miller. Also a mention for the technical skills of Phill Clucas.
Billed as Camden Fringe being a presentation platform to attract support for the continued development of the show, I`m confident it has done that.
Britain`s Got Talent is brilliantly written, raising relevant topical issues, the direction strong & fluid with excellent pacing & perfectly acted.