A Welcome Revival Of A Quirky Mystery at The Tabard

The Chainsaw Manicure is bursting with energy and fun writes Penny Flood

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This smashing piece of farcical fluffiness is about two housemates, Frances (Tamaryn Payne) and Abigail Hannah Hawkins), who want to get rid of the third member of the household Gary (Dan Dawes). Scared to approach him directly, and with good reason, they decide to hatch a plot that will do the job.

It's young, it's funny, it's noisy, bursting with energy, and a strong story line to keep the audience guessing until the end.

image of two women from the Chainsaw Manicure play at the Tabard

Frances and Abigail are alike as chalk and cheese. Frances is boy mad with a penchant for vodka, and some interesting ideas on the best way to serve runny honey and yogurt for breakfast. Abigail is a quieter, introverted sort of person, more into camomile tea and yoga. However, egged on by Frances, Abigail admits to having had sex in a Metro , which Frances tops by saying she's never had sex in anything smaller than a Jag, leaving poor Abigail to defend her honour by adding it was an MG Metro. Which sets the play firmly in 1994.

And so it careers on in a giggly, girly, squealy sort of way as the plot, which gets more ludicrous by the second gets mixed up with Frances' man-obsessed bragging and Abigail's paranoia.
Sometimes they get up and dance and act out their fantasies and fears, adding a surreal quality to the mix.

It's true that Gary is odd, he owns a chainsaw for Heaven's sake So are the girls' fears founded or is there a reason for his behaviour? That's the big mystery that runs right through the show.
It's not deep, there's no sub-plot or existential angst to worry about on the way home, it's just lots of fun, brilliantly directed by Dan Dawes. Written by Thomas Kett, it's the play's first outing since 1994, Dan found it on the internet, spotted the potential and brought it to life at the Tabard. Very well done him. It's good and deserves a bigger audience than on the night I was there.

And last but not least, now they've built a new bar in the theatre you can get a drink upstairs so you don't have to trail down to the pub, and that's not bad thing either.

Penny Flood

The Chainsaw Manicure by Thomas Kett will play at the Tabard Theatre for a limited 3 week run from 2 20 May at 7.30pm from Tuesday to Saturday in its first London revival.

Tickets are priced £14/£10. Book online at www.tabardtheatre.co.uk or 0208 995 6035

May 5, 2017

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