EFR - Reviews of Marny Town

Marny Town

Sat 4th – Tue 21st August 2018

reviews

Melissa Tutesigensi

at 08:32 on 13th Aug 2018

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This show takes no prisoners – get on board, or else. If, like me, you have not seen much character comedy, then you have to make a commitment at the very beginning. If you stand on the edge, worried that it doesn’t make sense, that is won’t be polished enough and won’t make you laugh, you’ll spend the whole time shifting awkwardly in your seat willing for it to end. The moment that I chose to just lean into the whole experience, it all became a lot easier.

‘Marny Town’ is the stuff of nostalgia as Marny delves into her past to introduce us to her characters. We travel down Crazy Street, Rage Road, Love Lane and Heartbreak Hill to meet her family, first loves and sworn enemies. It’s a technicolour, patchwork quilt of character comedy representing the kooky. She switches between characters, using the gaps in between to explain the context through anecdotes. Often using the audience, she relied on a warm atmosphere that, luckily, she got. Some parts were just wacky to the extent that I wasn’t sure what to make of them. Some parts were relatively uncomfortable, as the humour didn’t suit my taste. It felt surreal, as if I was watching children’s TV. Nonetheless, I made that choice at the beginning to give it a chance and I ended up having a good time in the end. I was sceptical, but it was all right.

Undeniably, Marny is a confident and assured performer who has the skill to move from one character to the next with the same full and fun energy that really carried through the whole performance. The moments were she laughed, there was a delayed sound effect or something else went slightly wrong, were brushed off. In the end, it didn’t really matter, as the audience was already onside. This was a show that certainly did not take itself seriously and it won’t be for everyone but, if the reaction of the audience I was in is anything to go by, there are definitely a band of character comedy lovers that are willing to get on board and take the trip down memory lane with Marny.

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Marie-Louise Wohrle

at 09:13 on 13th Aug 2018

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Marny Godden presents ‘Marny Town‘, a one hour long adventure into her mind and the characters that live there. The show is a mixture of stand-up, character comedy and clowning, and introduces characters such as the gender-swapped version of her Dutch grandmother (with beautiful Dutch clogs), her mother (a relatable character for any performing artist), a late night talk show host, and her brother ("don't put me in the show").

Godden performs her stand-up sections and introductions to the character cutaways with a certain charm and positive energy, no matter how wild the story. The topics vary just as drastically as her characters, yet somehow her presentation and a few road signs tie the whole wacky world together. I found her delivery style to be very simple, yet effective; and this simplicity helps her show off the shiny characters she plays.

Her characters had varied receptions. Her portrayal of her father may not have been the best option to open the show with – he struggled to create rapport with the audience Other characters had a far easier bonding with the audience, for example her grandmother and talk show host characters. These two characters fittingly have the most audience interaction – “recreating” her grandmothers’ marriages with members of the audience and a competitive round of musical statues. Though I enjoyed ‘Marny Town’s' characters throughout the show, my only criticism is that some of them could have been more differentiated in their physicality.

The dance-off was one of my personal favourites, and an outstanding moment of the show. As wass the Barbados Song, and a – possibly improvised? – very clowning-focused scene. In the show as a whole, Marny Godden won me over with her incredibly enjoyable audience interactions where both she and her characters proved to be odd, but ultimately friendly people. The opening to ‘Marny Town’ was slow, but as soon as Marny had brought the audience on her side, it became incredibly enjoyable. Every time I took notes I felt like I was missing something important on stage, which I think is a good indication of Marny Godden’s ability to draw her audience in. It is definitely a show that requires the audience to commit to its concept, but when they do, it becomes a fun, silly show.

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