I don’t think there’s one person on this planet who hasn’t faced the moral dilemma of whether to put themselves before humanity. Except maybe Mother Theresa, but contrary to the over-priced clothing line, we can’t all be saints. Using a combination of physical, musical, surrealist and theatrical comedy, The Pursuit of Success follows a writer, Rachel, and her inner conflict when faced with decisions compromising morality for success. It’s very feminist. It’s very funny. And it really makes you think.
Centrist to Lobster Frock’s core, our good friend feminism was explored to highlight the personal struggle of the protagonist, Rachel, when she is faced with the option to exploit her hero, Amy Johnson, the first woman to fly solo from London to Australia. The narrative cleverly intertwines Rachel’s actions and sub-conscious thoughts to demonstrate how sexism rears itself within the production world. She is faced with several decisions to use a pen name, cast a line-up of well-known white leads, and to alter Amy Johnson’s feminist legacy to find ultimate happiness through a male lover, rather than as a heroic pilot. From reality to dream, or musical to physical comedy, The Pursuit of Success has it all, and somehow manages to pull it off.
Overcrowding a show by alternating between differing themes, perspectives and styles of comedy often confuses the storyline leading the audience to lose attention. This was not the case for The Pursuit of Success which catalysed my inquisition from the get-go. It was hard to choose a favourite character given each of their distinctive persona’s. In fact, I found myself yearning to hear more from the hilarious sub-characters, especially Rachel’s sister, performed by Christine Mears; a young, pregnant, narcissistic professional who took advantage of her sisterly relationship purely for self-indulgence, including boasting her fantastic sex life. She was Instagram personified.
Performing the part of Rachel, Kirsty Blewett captured a struggling writer in her twenties perfectly. Her use of physical comedy produced a library of facial expressions and dance moves to be envied by Mr Bean which captured her strengths as a comedy actor. A special shout-out must be given to her pre-writing ritual dance, which was hilarious, albeit ridiculous. Mears also showcased her acting talent through the portrayal of multiple characters. As Rachel’s subconscious, Mears cleverly lead the audience into a state of self-reflection as she appeared to be the voice of reason when encouraging immoral decisions based on power and success. This portrayal of seemingly sensible decisions is turned on its head as Mears uses satire through musical comedy to provoke the realisation of how internalised inequality is promoted in return for success. And, she does this all whilst twerking.
Whilst politically liberal theatre is certainly not ground-breaking in today’s climate, Lobster Frock offer a fresh perspective by encouraging honest self-reflection. It’s easy enough to point the finger, but can we admit bending our own moral compass? It’s the perfect balance of feminist thought-provocation, surrealist choreography, and relatable comedy.
Lobster Frock is made up of Kirsty Blewett (Rachel) and Christine Mears (Subconscious/Sister/Mother), and directed/produced by Phoebe Hitt and Lisa Stelley with sound management from Ben Tiver. All members of the group contributed to the writing of The Pursuit of Success.
Check out Lobster Frock here.