Adelaide Fringe 2013
Recently divorced Samantha is a single mother trying to provide for her son doing what she does best: providing pleasure for men over the phone. This comic performance reveals real issues that single mothers face today, but this heavy subject is lightened by Sophie Gatacre’s talent and wit. She stumbles through the day relying on wine and the Bible to help her find answers to her problems but it eludes her. The only thing she can do is pick herself up and do what she does best.
Samantha is sultry, raunchy, and miserable. After her husband leaves her for his secretary she takes up a job working from home—‘market research’ she tells her neighbours. In between calls from politicians, priests, and bankers, her sad story unfolds: a single mother who misses her, albeit deceitful, ex-husband and who promises her son everything he could wish for but knowing deep down it will never happen. However, this melancholy storyline is lifted by the comedy in the phone calls and energy that Sophie Gatacre brings to the character. She brings every emotion to the performance and the multiple roles she plays.
Gatacre’s humour and performance is comparable to Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley in Absolutely Fabulous with strong parallels in the storyline as well. She connects with the audience by including them in the show and seeking their opinions on her detours during the journey. Despite the sprawling venue and pounding music from the pub downstairs, there is a sense of intimacy as Samantha displays her vulnerability and speaks candidly about her job and plays out men’s fantasies over the phone.
The minimal props added to the sense of despair and economical strains in Samantha’s life but her tenacity and determination to overcome these issues is admirable. The audience is left wanting to know more, and whether she is ever freed from these constraints. The bittersweet ending summarises the reality of Samantha’s life. She is a complex character hidden beneath layers of comedy, lewdness and coarseness in this entertaining performance.