One of the best things about fringe festivals is that you get to experience a range of shows that cannot quite be boxed into one category. One day it might be jugglers or the circus, the next a political rant or an intense two-hander about the restaurant provision for vegans. As shows have gone online during the current pandemic, they have attained an additional status from performers isolated from others by necessity, not always from choice. Boundaries have increasingly become blurred as creators experiment.
In Defying GraviTT, The Fabulous TT aka Tish Tindall brings her wry observational skills and musical prowess to a one-person show which considers lockdown from the perspective of “a menopausal madwoman”. Part video diary, part song cycle, part cabaret, Tindall’s piece has tongue firmly in cheek as she reveals what she buys on Amazon, why she reveres the character of Glinda in Wicked, and how she has been influenced to write reflective songs by Kaye Adams from Loose Women.
This show can simply be enjoyed as a musical theatre showcase of pithy but witty songs in the Victoria Wood vein (accompanied by on-screen captions hinting at our narrator’s state of mind), or you can bring in elements of your own life experience. I am a pre-menopausal woman around Tindall’s age, so much of Defying GraviTT resonated with me, especially around lockdown lethargy and mood, online shopping binges, and what really happens to our best intentions when it comes to underwear.
Tindall is a performer with warmth and creative energy, totally at ease before her camera inside and outside her home in Scotland. As well as evoking memories of Wood’s crackling observational comedy, she is also a gifted pianist and co-founder of the Lossie Entertainment Academy. Defying GraviTT, as one of its songs suggests, insists that we “Live in the Here and Now” despite all the physical challenges of the menopause and the emotional straitjacket of lockdown.
Defying GraviTT was released on 8 August and can be watched at https://online.thespaceuk.com/watch-shows/theatre#h.4gi9h6xjb2p0
Reviewer: Louise Penn
Reviewed: 20th August 2020
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★