Brighton Fringe 2009
Forget Me Not
Venue: The Parlure Speigeltent, Old Steine Lawns
Festival: Brighton Fringe
Backstage in a dressing room, the late-flapper ‘Forget Me Not’ reveals her dazzling life story through monologue and songs of the 1920’s
When I walked in, I just caught the introduction made by the pianist to bring Forget Me Not on (played by the wonderful Sharon Elizabeth). He was gentle and quietly spoken, but had a certain flare about him which drew my attention to the stage. Very simple but effective setting to indicate a glamourous changing room full of feather boas, a screen to change behind, a champagne bottle and glasses and lots of shawls elegantly displayed. This gave us the audience an indication of the sort of person we were going to see – and we weren’t disappointed!
Sharon Elizabeth waltzed onto the stage and gave us an hour of sheer decadence and glamour as Helena, the real name of Forget Me Not, whose life has certainly been different, contraversial and exciting.
Loved dressing up as a boy, proud to be bisexual, boasting about Mata Hari influencing her life when she sneaked into Working Men’s Clubs and had many men in her life! Sharon played this role with such passion and subtlety that the audience from her opening number was transfixed, despite a slightly slow opening which picked up quickly after that. Her voice certainly lives up to its reputation as being one of the most sought after soprano singers in the world, but what made it so good was the fact she not only sung, but she acted throughout the songs as it became appropriate – especially if a comedy number came up! She captures the spirit of the era of the 1920’s and made us believe we were actually there.
Highlights included a song called ‘There’s a Soprano in the Shower’ which was an uplifting comedy number involving a lot of naughty innuendos based around water and fantastic trills in Sharon’s voice as if she was singing in the shower on a much larger and sexier scale. This was around the time her character got involved with a club in Paris and the boss Max was obssessed with water in general as she jovially pointed out.
Others included incidents when she interacted with the audience and really enabled them to get involved by talking to them and inviting two members of the audience to become part of a number which involved a rich sugar daddy and a younger lover who was a poor artist. A little more interaction with the pianist though would have made it perfect.
All the songs and dialogue were linked really smoothly and the ride we were taken on was certainly one to remember. The end was especially poignant as we then found out that she fell pregnant by a lover who was a gypsy and had to give her baby away (it was a boy). The pain she showed was real and not over the top, so we really felt for her loss. A stark but good contrast to the glamour we had seen throughout the show as we finally saw her mask being pulled away.
This show is only on for a few more days in the beautiful setting of the Parlure Speigeltent on Old Steine Lawns, so do not miss it.