Review: Our Ladies of Perceptual Succour

Our Ladies soar


Everything I remember about school outings is about the journey - jostling for coach seats, sweaty egg-mayonnaise sandwiches - rather than the destination. After seeing this raucous and joyous show, that relates the hap and mishap of six girl choristers from a fictional Catholic school who head to Edinburgh to take part in a choir competition, I'll think of my school outings as embarrassingly uneventful and a wasted opportunity.
Instead of egg sandwiches, the rampaging students from Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour - here also known as "the virgin megastore" - are packing flasks laced with vodka, and also a determination to "go mental" in the city's dives. They ditch their uniforms, blag their way into clubs with the intention of copping off with sailors on leave, and sing - really well. The harmonic virtuosity used to perform Mendelssohn is deployed to equally stunning effect for ELO's songbook.

Without that musical dimension, this adaptation by Lee Hall would have tired during the last third of this uninterrupted show. But, with it, Vicky Featherstone's production, first seen in Edinburgh, is never less than a soaring hymn to adolescent - though not innocent - spirit.

Most surprising of all is not the music, but the versatility of the acting. Everyone here occasionally morphs into the often boneheaded men the girls encounter. Hall's framing device - the girls have turned the trip into a stage act in one of the dodgy clubs - bears little scrutiny. But the sheer life-affirming spirit of this gang carries all before it.

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