A Refreshing Musical Romp Relished By All

Susan Stanley-Carroll on About Bill at the Tabard Theatre

Kim Ismay as one of her personas in her one-woman show
Kim Ismay as one of her personas in her one-woman show. Picture: Anthony Sajdler

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September 6, 2023

‘About Bill’ by Matthew Strachan and Bernie Gaughan is a refreshing musical romp of a show that was relished by the first night audience. Do book your seats to watch it as it’s a short show 80 minutes and has a short run - closes on 9 September.

Kim Ismay stars in this one-woman production. She is superb. Her infectious energy, as she zips from costume to costume and character to character, lights up the studio’s auditorium like the recent blue moon in the night sky. Her pace and timing are spot on. She delivers the story with panache and nails the personalities of the eleven people that she skilfully portrays.

We observe the life of Bill Fitzgerald from foetus to the grave, however, we never meet Bill unlike the plethora of women who tell us about him from their own, very different, perspectives,

Kim Ismay’s gutsy, glittering performance, in which she sings, dances, changes into eleven or more strikingly different costumes, wigs, hats and shoes (all on stage), as she presents the women who knew Bill Fitzgerald. Including Gloria, his landlady and her captivating song ‘Foolish’, the debutante Miranda, and the Mexican, Lopita, who marries him but, also, fleeces him of every penny.

Throughout the show Bill’s indomitable, well-grounded stoically moral Aunt Dot shares her unconditional love for her wayward, charismatic nephew. However, she realises that glamour not only attracted both her sister (Bill’s feckless showgirl mother) and her flamboyant, trumpeter nephew, but was also the cause of their ultimate downfall.

Keith Strachan’s direction is faultless and a tribute to his son Matthew Strachan’s witty yet poignant script. His excellent soundtrack chronologically depicts the world events during Bill’s life and supplies the contexts for the monologues.

Paul Crew’s elegantly provides the music that adds an extra ‘je ne sais quoi’ to this charming show.

The life of Bill is told by a number of very different women. Picture: Anthony Sajdler

Kim Ismay designed her own interesting array of costumes, wigs and shoes that helped not only to identify each character but enabled Kim to nimbly and effortlessly dress and undress on stage. A black petticoat must be the one garment all women need to take on a long weekend!

Grab tickets NOW to watch this exuberant show. It finishes on Saturday 9 September. No guarantee that it will return to the Tabard - great if it does.

Susan Stanley-Carroll

TICKETS: £18/£15 concessions. You can book all productions online on the Tabard Theatre web site or call the box office on 020 8995 6035 (leave a message if you can’t get through and your call will be returned).

Theatre at the Tabard is at 2 Bath Road, Chiswick (W4 1LW).



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