Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2010 – total sell out!
Buxton Festival Fringe 2011 – total sell out!
NOMINATED FOR BEST THEATRE PRODUCTION – Buxton Festival Fringe 2011
Ruth Rich has hit the menopause. Colin Firth has disappeared from her dreams and eldest child, Laura (21) is away at uni. Time to settle down and join a Book Club? Well, that`s what she thinks. But as Ruth enters the “sandwich” years and worries over her mildly demented mother, her son Freddie`s (15) detention, and daughter Ellie`s (17) driving and drinking, she discovers it is not easy to please everyone – particularly not the cosmetically enhanced but demanding and vacuous Timmy`s Mum. So, does a little white lie get her out of trouble? Er, no. Not when everyone around her is being sparing with the truth too ….
A witty and entertaining play describing a middle aged mum`s efforts to keep everything running smoothly as chaos unfolds.
Running time: 1 hour 20 minutes (additional interval optional)
For a two hour programme Double Booked may be followed by Something Fishy after a 20 minute interval under the title “Home Truths”. Total running time (including interval) 2 hours 20 minutes.
Three Weeks *****
EDINBURGH FRINGE 2013
Monday 19 August 2013
Sometimes simplicity is key. ‘Double Booked’ is marvellous in its simplicity and homeliness, and it wins your heart for this very reason. ‘Double Booked’ is refreshingly honest comedy at its best. It might be geared towards an older audience, but Ginny Davis possesses such a natural comedic brilliance that both script and humour are wonderfully accessible to any audience. She shifts from wife, to husband, to daughter, to snooty friend, to teacher, and to several other characters, without missing a beat. Ginny Davis is a class act, as a stretched out, stay at home mother telling little white lies to avoid embarrassment . Wonderfully light and effortlessly hilarious, ‘Double Booked’ is the epitome of heart-warming comedy as the fringe intended it.
Broadway Baby ****
Clear Your Calendar
Venue Number 33. Pleasance Courtyard, 60 Pleasance, EH8 9TJ. 1-25 August 12:40 (1 hour 5 minutes). Suitability: PG. Some strong language.
Ruth Rich’s madcap scheming to avoid a diary clash fills this hour of light comedy at the Pleasance Courtyard. Ginny Davis’ tightly-plotted script is witty and charming and her solo performance is masterfully vivid.
Stay-at-home mum of three Ruth is horrified to discover that she has managed to get trapped into both a school concert and a dinner with her mother on the same evening. The script of Double Booked is interlaced with side-plots, as Ruth deals with her son’s pranks, her mother’s missing teeth and a lascivious English teacher. One of Davis’ skills lies in bringing all these threads to a chortlingly good resolution.
Another strength of the production is the force with which the other roles are realised. This one-woman show is populated by half a dozen endearingly wacky characters, each carefully observed and faithfully represented. Davis is equally at-home playing the serenely self-absorbed Timmy’s Mum as she is with the Hugh Grant-esque Mr Williams. Furthermore, her portrayal of the teenagers showed a keen ear for today’s neologisms and attitudes without falling into unfair parody. Davis is an actor in supreme control, as she flicks effortlessly between voices and physicalities.
The dynamism of these other characters was in contrast with her portrayal of Ruth who, as an every-woman figure for the plot to revolve around, ended up comparatively weak. The language of the piece feels like a reading of a novel at times, rather than theatre per se, as Ruth narrates events even as she acts them out.
Alternating with Double Booked is a sister-play called Something Fishy, which stands on its own whilst involving the same host of recognisable characters as in Double Booked. This is a play which will certainly appeal to mums, but also to those who appreciate good comedy writing.
[James Robert Ball] Broadway Baby
Buxton Festival Fringe Review
If you can imagine sitting surrounded by the constant inhalation of breath from stifled laughter; imagine watching your relationship with your family acted out before you; imagine viewing a plethora of problems be stacked up against a loveable character then you will most probably be imagining `Double Booked`.
This performance, acted out single handedly by the phenomenal actress Ginny Davis, depicts how one person`s week can become a complete chaos due to a few lies and a normal person trying to keep face. It`s hard for me to not consider each character as a single actor, as each member of the completely dysfunctional (and strangely relatable) cast is embodied so brilliantly that you almost forget that the actress before you isn`t a teenage boy howling in laughter about taking his clothes off and simulating sex with his friends in a chemistry lab.
Every topic a person worries about in life is condensed into this quirky hour long spectacle. Whether it be wondering if your child is gay, worrying about a lonely senior mother, or trying to not give into peer pressure by buying things you really cannot afford.
A beautiful play acted in a beautiful manner, from a superb actress who is a true master of her craft.
Curtis Golden and Kim Thomas
Ruth has husband, a couple of teenagers, Laura and Freddie, still at school, and another, Ellie, just off to university. The life of a stay at home mum turns out to be much more complex than you might expect, what with an aging Gran, the other mums, Freddie’s pal at boarding school and a sexy English teacher to look out for. Ruth’s storytelling starts off at a measured pace which builds to a hilarious Friday evening where the strands of the story come together.
This is warm, good-natured fun. Ruth brings you into her world, exposing the pressures, complexities and politics of family life, including what not to say at the book group, how to cope with monosyllabic boys and teenagers learning to drive, along with those difficult issues like just how much booze a 17 year old should be allowed to take to a party. Rich’s rapport with the audience is excellent, and mums, dads, grandparents and children will all recognise the portrait of family life painted.
The Pleasance Cellar is cosy and intimate, and the simple staging works very well. Starting at lunchtime in the Pleasance, Rich’s strong appealing characterisation and narrative will amuse and delight. Kathryn Mack
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED SHOW
Ruth Rich is a full-time mother of three – no, make that four as she has a husband as well. The children, Freddie, Ellie and Laura, at 15, 17 and 21, could be most politely described as a challenge. Throw in her Welsh mother with a proclivity to misplace or eject her ill-fitting dentures at inappropriate moments and a surgically enhanced friend with a genuine superiority complex and you have most of the ingredients for a life of chaos.
Life revolves around managing the social life of her teenage tribe, acting as confident to her various friends, finding her mother’s elusive false teeth and fighting off the attentions (not unwelcome) of Freddie’s English teacher. Not surprisingly this leaves little time for husband and even less available to pursue her fantasies about Colin Firth.
The story revolves around her silicon enlarged friend, who is introduced as Timmy’s Mum. Timmy used to school with Freddie but has graduated to a leading boarding school following the acquisition of an ASBO. He is due to perform in a school concert this Friday and Timmy’s Mum needs Ruth and Freddie to support her as part of the audience.
Around this relatively simple premise,Ginny Davis (writer and performer) weaves a delightful tale that will resonate with anyone who has experienced the “teenage years” of parenthood. And if audiences reflect the subject manner with which they are being presented, then this packed house was true to form with about two thirds watching with relief that all this trauma was long behind them and the rest chuckling at the havoc they had so recently inflicted on their parents.
Delivery is through a narrative style, with the central character, Ruth, introducing the others involved in the story. And there are many of them, allowing Davis to display with some skill a broad range of accents, body language and styles of delivery. She slips effortlessly in and out of the varied personas, often in mid sentence, so the overall effect is not unlike listening to a dramatised version of a book reading.
This works extremely well but what makes this production stand out from the host of others in the storytelling genre is the quality of the script itself. We get plenty of self-deprecation for Ruth herself coupled with irony and the odd bit of satire. Ms Davis clearly has a love of words, of expression and of descriptions of family life. These clearly strike a chord with her listeners judging from the gales of laughter that greet the situations in which Ruth finds herself. Those of us that are not going to see fifty again have all had to deal with teenagers and alcohol, teaching them to drive and the miscellany of conflicts that are all demanding immediate resolution.
The story branches this way and that and at times leaves you wondering how it all fits together, or whether it does at all. But it does, and beautifully. All the little asides she throws out form a web of intrigue that are drawn together as the tale builds to its frenetic and laugh out loud conclusion. You really have to marvel at the ability of Ruth to keep so many balls in the air. It would take some pretty complex algorithms to be able to model the social life she and her brood are engaged in yet Ruth is a picture of serenity despite all the chaos that unfolds that Friday on the night of the concert. And a diplomat too as it turns out, saving the bacon and marriage of at least one of her friends with her quick thinking and economical use of the truth.
This is a cleverly written and engagingly delivered piece of storytelling that will appeal to the parents of teenagers everywhere. It ought to be made compulsive viewing for the adolescent brats as well but you’ll need to get your skates on and book as this show features regularly on the “sold out” board at the Pleasance.
Reviewed by Tim Wilcock 12 August 2010
Three Weeks ****
The Scotsman ***
This would have worked equally well as a radio play but it is an amusing story which comes to an uplifting and satisfying conclusion.