Director: Anthea Williams
Writer: Maeve Marsden and Libby Wood
Reviewer: Jo Payne
Gin has made its comeback and a team of Australians are bringing the musical story of how and why to the theatres of the UK with impeccable vocals, witty humour and only the drink doing the talking.
The scene is set: cabaret-style seating, a small stage with a grand piano, and gin – just gin – everywhere. Knowing that many gin-lovers have made the pilgrimage to hear their sermon, the leading ladies of the show open appropriately with The Gin Prayer. “Forgive us our Beefeater as we forgive those who Gordon’s against us.” Cheers!
Although advertised as a cabaret, in reality, this show is so much more than that. One could easily be forgiven for expecting mediocre vocals, cheesy numbers and some filler chat about gin. Instead, the audience binge on well-known songs from across the decades performed with delicious harmonies, a tantalising piano accompaniment and a whole litre of gin facts to garnish. The bottoms are certainly up in this production.
Maeve Marsden and Libby Wood’s voices melt together to create a delectable sound with flawless harmonies, occasionally joined by Jeremy Brennan’s soothing tone, when he’s not busy showing off his best (back)side! They weave effortlessly between the different numbers, using the space of the stage and the theatre (yes, there is some audience participation so prepare that Dutch courage) to draw you in to listen and enjoy or, on occasion, singalong.
Musical highlights include: Chandelier by Sia, during which the audience is primed to ‘one, two, three, one, two, three, DRINK’; Malaria Burlesque which is a hilarious journey through the tribulations of gin drinkers of the past; and a personal favourite, Misery and Gin by Billy Dean, which perfectly showcases the considerable talent and incredibly tight harmonies of all three performers: a real spine-tingling moment. After downing multiple cocktails and neat gulps on stage, the ladies close with the catchy number, I’ve Drunk Every Gin, a whistle-stop tour of dozens of gins. And it’s easy to believe that they have.
Intertwined with a selection of gin-related songs from a variety of genres is, of course, the history lesson all about gin. The ladies use personal anecdotes, gangster rap and real facts (perhaps!) to tell the journey of gin’s reputation over the centuries. Even after many tours of distilleries, it’s possible for gin fanatics to discover something new about their favourite tipple and be thoroughly entertained in the process.
The trio’s comedy timing is intoxicating as they interact with each other and the audience, winding up the laughs and pulling an unbelievable amount of booze from their bras (or elsewhere, in Brennan’s case).
This charming threesome provide a fabulous night out to enjoy with whoever you spend your Happy Hours with (you even receive a complimentary G&T with your ticket) and leave the designated drivers at home: Mother’s Ruin is a show not to be hiccoughed at while it’s in town. Cheers!
Runs until 31 May 2019 | Image: Stephen Sheldrake