Multi-character shows can be an unsatisfying experience, like sitting through an hour-long check-out-my-range audition when you aren’t actually making a film. And that sometimes goes for the performers too. Sooz Kempner has taken a good, hard look at her performance style after previously doing character shows, and now gone for something much more personal. The result is a quirky treat.
It doesn’t look too promising when you see the fraying sheet she’s using for a screen, in truth, but this non-slick approach proves highly appropriate. Sooz on Film is her own story, told via the movies that changed her life, and it’s been an eventful ride along the fringes of fame. The family cat, Boris, became a movie star when she was a kid—Boris crops up in her brother Luke’s Fringe show too—and there’s a hilarious screen-based sequence late on revealing her dog-related near-appearances in a more recent motion picture.
In between, we get a refreshingly honest trawl through a jobbing actor/performer’s life: working as a pop tribute act and a live Disney character, while also taking various admin jobs. One of those turned horribly sinister early on, however. Films were a vital escape.
One of the show’s main struts is a Goodfellas-style script Kempner wrote as a teenager, and the initial plan was clearly to base a whole cringe-heavy show on it. But those splendid quotes are now just part of that fraying sheet’s rich tapestry of clips, songs, and indeed a few characters, thrown in cleverly as pre-recorded secret weapons. The result is an absolute joy.