Barnstaple's Fringe Theatre Festival
June 19th-22nd 2014

Miss Givings

A'Nother Productions

play with music
age 13+

60 mins

Performed by Debbie Bridge

Script by Robert Cohen

Direction by Nicholas Quirke

Anita’s just moved back home. Not to Mom and Dad’s, you understand, just out of New York and back to Peekskill – and it’s NOT an admission of defeat; just a strategy for recharging batteries and planning a new assault on Broadway.

Observe, then, as Anita seeks to affect her return to the bright lights, grappling with hostile agents, indifferent casting directors, doubting parents, demanding boyfriends and, worst of all, high school rivals still somehow hogging the local limelight.

Meantime, Anita will treat you to gems known and lesser known from such American song writing legends as Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, Amy Beach, Aaron Copland and George & Ira Gershwin.

Anita is played by Debbie Bridge

There is no doubt that Debbie Bridge is an accomplished singer and actress of outstanding quality. Her stage presence is strong, warm and in her solo performance as Anita Boult-a jobbing musical actress-forced to move out of her New York home and return to her home town.- there are elements that remind us of Shirley Maclaine, Maureen Lipman and Barbra Streisand.

This one woman showcase contains some amusing reminiscences about the precarious life of a jobbing actress-particularly, agents, the dis-heartening experience of auditions and having to perform in un-paid productions to keep the fire of performance still alive. David Rumelle (Remotegoat reviewer)

The script is by Robert Cohen whose one-man show ‘The Trials of Harvey Matusow’ was hailed by Plays International as ‘the best one-hander I have seen all year’ and received a FringeReview award for his own one man show – Harvey Matusow.

Essentially this is a story monologue with songs and there’s a good balance struck between Cohen’s conversational script that reminded me in direct style of his Harvey Matusow. The strengths of the piece are the choice of songs, light touch, deft direction and a script that joins up the songs with fluidity, serving the whole piece rather than overshadowing it. Plenty of historical nougats are delivered along the way. Paul Levy Fringe Review – 4 stars

Direction is by Nicholas Quirke – Artistic Director/Director of the Festival Shakespeare Company whose 2011 ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ would, according to Fringe Guru, ‘rank high on a list of best outdoor Shakespeare ever‘.

Skilfully directed by Nicholas Quirke Paul Levy Fringe Review – 4 stars

Listen to some sound bites of this production.

4 star reviews:

Overall this is a genuinely warming piece of musical theatre delivered with skill and panache by Bridge. It stays confident in its calmness and the hour glides by. Debbie Bridge carries off all the well-chosen songs. Without microphone she’s raw, real live and spot on.

Nocturne was stupendous and where all elements of the show converged: powerful and poised command of a difficult song, sensitive and economic direction, sandwiched between some enjoyable and playful monologue and breaking down of the fourth wall.
Reviewed by Paul Levy FringeReview 9th May 2013 (4 stars)

Miss Givings is every wide-eyed performer’s story – from the delight in exercising your talent, through the nerves and excitement of auditions, to the deflating self-doubt that accompanies not getting picked. The stinging realisation that your past victories have been modest coupled with the almost excruciating thrill of sharing your true self onstage culminates in a bittersweet denouement.

An adept storyteller, Bridge is likable and ebullient, versatile and purposeful in bringing tragicomic Anita to life. If you’ve ever slept in your tap shoes, belted a Babs-Judy-Liza medley in the shower or were picked last for every sport, Miss Givings should take pride of place on your festival agenda; a perfectly pleasant way to spend an evening.
Amy Holtz (May 2013)

Audience feedback:
“Fun way to link the really accessible and contrasting songs - a real showcase!”
“It held together extremely well. It highlighted both acting and singing talents and was very enjoyable. The piano playing was also very much enjoyed, script was witty and fitted perfectly”
“Very clear singing, range of vocals, costumes. Very enjoyable, good range of songs and great script. Sensitive accompanist.”
“Excellent singing of fantastic songs and great acting”
“I actually understood what was going on. Really well put together”