Call Me Vicky
at The Pleasance Theatre, London
“I want to know more about this world and these people”
‘Based entirely on a true story’ makes for an interesting tale, but does it transform into an entrancing theatrical event? Ever so nearly!
Call Me Vicky is a part of the You Will Know Their Names New Writing Season at The Pleasance. The one-act play is about a young man in the 1980s, Martin, who has always known that he is a woman and is soon to undergo the full NHS treatment to become his true self: Vicky. In the meantime, we see his loving working class mother, Sylvie, so accepting and understanding, coping stoically with her child’s transitioning. Wendi Peters plays the part to perfection, handling the comedy and the pathos so gently that one feels her part is woefully underwritten. Maybe the whole tale is too obviously through Vicky’s eyes, whereas a different challenge would be to see Martin’s situation through the mother.
[Wendi Peters as Sylvie]
Martin/Vicky is played by Matt Greenwood, full of nuances and quirks, and, one would assume, having the shoulders upon which the play rests. Not quite. Luckily for him, not only does he have Wendi Peters, but Ben Welch - a gruff, loveable bear of a transvestite, singing, flirting with the audience and ad-libbing his way through the few sticky patches in the cabaret.
[Ben Welch as Fat Pearl]
Writers Nicola Bland and Stacey Victoria Bland both play fellow strugglers in this put-upon world, Debbie and Gabby respectively. Both have their own problems, both acting as useful devices in showing the huge heart and love for others that Vicky possesses.
[Matt Greenwood as Vicky]
A romantic twist occurs with the arrival of Sid, played by Adam Young. A gay punk who, not only plays against type, but genuinely stands by Vicky - there is so much that is tantalising about Sid’s story, too, that I feel director and dramaturg Victoria Gimby’s focus on telling Vicky’s truth, means the others have been left behind - they are all fascinating characters in a harsh world and somehow I felt short-changed. The actors are ultimately let down by a story, even if it is true, that is a little bit monochrome.
[Adam Young as Sid]
Wonderfully designed by Martha Hegarty, in what is a difficult space - far wider than it is deep - the play fair zips along, but I want to know more about this world and these people.
Photographer Fabio Santos
Producer Post-It Productions
Playwrights Stacey Victoria Bland and Nicola Bland
Director Victoria Gimby
Set Designer Martha Hegarty
Venue Pleasance Theatre, North Road, London N7 9EF
Tube Caledonian Road (Piccadilly Line)
Performances until Saturday 9th March 2019
Times 8pm Tuesday to Saturday, 6pm Sundays
(3.30pm Saturday 9th March)
Tickets from £12
Box Office www.pleasance.co.uk and 020 7609 1800
Running Time 75 minutes (no interval)
Twitter @callmevickyplay, @ThePleasance, #CallMeVicky