Theatrical, Dramatic, and All the Way Hilarious: Woman of the Hour

5 stars

Classic Hollywood glamour, childhood stardom, and physical theatre combine to form the unreservedly hilarious show Woman of the Hour.

In a masterful solo performance, Sophie Joske embodies the main character completely. These are not the eyes of Joske the comedian that glisten beneath the stage lights. They are the wild, tired eyes of Cassandra Barbitoll.

Image courtesy of Mark Gambino

Image courtesy of Mark Gambino

From the moment Joske steps on stage, it’s clear this is not only a theatrical life story but a comedic satirisation.

While Cassandra Barbitoll herself is a serious character—or a character who takes themselves seriously, at least—the show is not. We are chuckling early on as Joske tickles us with hammy acting. And, as absurdities escalate throughout the performance, we dissolve into puddles of laughter.

Dark humour also features, leaving us in stitches as the protagonist figuratively and literally devours her competition. Meanwhile, Joske moves the narrative back and forth in time. We see Cassandra as a baby, a teen, a young woman, and in the present day.

In this dynamic performance, we see the world around Cassandra with remarkable clarity.

The narrative is artfully constructed, showing audiences what lies beneath and drives the now-grown child star.

Highlighting the ludicrous with the preposterous, Joske takes things that are accepted as part of the everyday, but symbolise concerning issues, and swiftly shifts into conceptual and surreal scenes that bring out the most lively of guffaws.

In a portrayal that leverages Joske’s unmatched capacity for physical comedy, we’re treated to a morphing of space and time.

The set is bare; this woman needs no props.

With only her own phenomenal acting abilities at hand, she constructs an array of settings, moves from one character to another with ease, and captures moments of authentic experience with only changes in lighting and her own expression to signify a shift from flashback to present moment.

There are many, many remarkable aspects to this show. The most of which is, perhaps, the flawless performance. Joske has created an utterly refined piece of work that retains the vitality of something new.

Tickets available from the FRINGE WORLD website.