For those of us who are not quite ready to bare the Christmas mania that seeps into final few months of every year, we might need a kick into the festivities. In comes crawling Margaret and the Tapeworm.
This surreal new play by Triongl is a seasonal treat, that may just surprise you. We were treated with minces pies and sherry before going in. Perhaps not the wisest idea when the play involves so much of parasites and illness. Said character acquires the tapeworm at a Christmas do she has arrived at, new to Aberdeen to move in with her boyfriend. All is not as it seems here, as we never see him and nor does she. Her concerns about him, mirror concerns about her own self after eating the cocktail sausage which contains the tapeworm (a brief moment of voreaphelia: the desire to be consumed) who is only looking for a home for Christmas. Fate sends her to Amber, a local living across the hall, who appears to have a dark side and connections to her own man.
Any show is a great success when its mixes the funny with the stomach turning. Here Triongl do a great job with both, in what is a festive treat. Most of the comedy comes from veteran actor Valmai Jones, in her most absurd role yet as the tapeworm. Her characters just all seem to loiter, as is seen in previous work from the company (she played a lady who would not sell her house) and here, she remains in Margaret’s bowls the most of the show, delighting in her food and drink choices, her drunken escapade and heartfelt disappointments. There is comedy gold, since the tapeworm is greedy, selfish and arrant to everyone her hosts meets. A few good belly laughs were spread out over the show. Thanks to a tapeworm, I just might have been won over by early Christmas delusions just yet.
Rebecca Smith Williams is Margaret, our glamorous protagonist who we go along with, feeling for her as it is revealed that her boyfriend is not what he seems. She has a relatable air in these themes of heartache and resilience. As Amber, Rebecca Knowles is a Scottish infusion of deadpan humour and risky decisions, as she follows Margaret around. The role is less interesting than the two other characters, only really a sort of foil to our namesake, leading to more revelations that are not really needed, even if they justify why Amber mostly exists as a character, her love of Christmas aside.
Perhaps more elements of body horror would have been welcome. Yet the theme of finding a home for Christmas for both people and parasites rang true. Sharply directed by Sean Tuan John, the show is strong, with the three leads making this great triangle of women that their company name alludes to.
Margaret and the Tapeworm continues at Chapter Arts Centre till 22nd December 2018.
Photo Credit: Kristen McTernan
This review has been kindly supported by the Wales Critic Fund.
This review is supported by the Wales Critic Fund.
Weeping Tudor Productions present Bernstein Bash! at St Edward’s Church, Cardiff on Saturday 1st December 2018. Join us for songs from West Side Story, Candide and other shows. Expect recital songs and also stimulating piano piece. Join us for the rumble! Book here: