A brief word of warning: Lucy Pearman’s breathtakingly inventive show is likely to make you laugh in a manner ill-befitting an Edwardian lord or lady, that being when it’s loosely set. One minute you’re emitting a mighty honk, then a disturbing squeak, then a noise no healthy human should ever really come up with. Plus there’s an awful lot of silent marvelling at the sheer cleverness.
This gleefully silly debut does indeed have a cabbage theme, but is heartily recommended for the agriculturally agnostic too. Pearman plays a maid who veers between new-job nerves and a devastating dark side, which reveals itself via a splendidly nifty, no-time-wasted costume change, just one of those ‘ooh, that’s clever’ touches. The cabbage plot involves our intriguing heroine embarking on several quests at the behest of a lascivious puppet master and his horrible wife.
Pearman made a previous splash in the duo Letluce, and work-in-progressed this show at last year’s Fringe, which has certainly paid off. There’s an admirable self-assurance here that’s evident from the opening walk-on, as her steely-eyed servant ushers audience members into whatever seats she sees fit. Several of those people will be needed later, occasionally in quite embarrassing ways. And yet you find yourself half-hoping she’ll pick you as the next soldier/market trader/horse: it’s like being a kid at some alternative, veg-based Disneyland.
True, the show doesn’t really have an ending—“and that’s it!"—but by then the whole place is in such a state of near hysteria, a big finale might do someone a mischief. Blooming marvelous.