Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Not so Absolucy

I want to put this off and forget about it. I want to not be here and not really do this. You see, I went to the opening night of Absolucy at The Kalk Bay Theatre last night and it was horrible. There are going to be many who disagree with me, and I’ll get lots of comments and people will end up tuning me, but I can’t help it. This show was not only not my cup of tea, it was also not anything else.

This is a one-woman cabaret style fake/true ‘story’ about someone who has talent but also has a drinking problem. It’s a confessional ‘biography’. It’s kinda like an excuse to do some songs, some with added costumes. The great thing is that Lucy Tops has got an unbelievable and amazing voice. She is also a very pretty girl. So we have a pretty girl with an amazing voice, but no show. There is nothing. No story, no character arc, no meaning, no irony, no comedy, no comic timing, no theatricality, no originality. Lucy is a great voice and great physical being with total disconnect between what she is singing and doing, and the material. She is also self-conscious which makes everything seem so fake.

My advice to Lucy is; get an experienced director and workshop the material. Develop the character. Find the style. Commit to the performance in a more genuine way. I know. I should probably lighten up. But Absolucy left me in the dark.

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4 Comments

  1. Simon Cooper

    Another view from the Clifford Graham – the Monday Missile :
    “If Lucy Tops was ever accused of being a first timer and shy about putting it out there, then I dispute that categorically. Here is a fresh musically gifted and willing actress who, with time will do great things.
    Absolucy is a one woman, semi scripted, analysis of the life of a young cabaret singer. Warts and all, she tells it like it is. Caught up in a whirlwind existence and with a hedonist bent, alcohol becomes an issue in her life. We are invited in at the beginning of an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. And that is about as far as this theme is carried, why take it any further? The insights are obvious and need no explanation. What carries this show is Lucy Tops and her abilities as a singer, hoofer and all around showgirl.
    She’s a sultry, sexy, serious and silly singer all in one package. Her ability to move from one mood to another flawlessly, carries her through an hour of sheer entertainment. And that’s what this show is, entertainment. It needs no more description than that. It’s not a deep and meaningful piece about alcohol and alcoholism. Don’t expect advice on solving addictions, it’s just not there. Engage rather with the songs and the singer. Dispense with the script and the spectacle is still intact. Lucy Tops is a performer who’s star will rise.
    My expectation was for a play, with a bit of music thrown in, fraught with warnings of the pitfalls of the dreaded drink. I was confronted with a barrage of well delivered cover versions which made me want to clap, sing-along and certainly got my feet tapped out the rhythms in the dark. I was alone and no-one was watching. I say this because she engages her audience with just the right amount of eye contact. We are drawn into her performance without reservation. I want her to succeed and soon find myself egging her on to the next song, she does them with so much consummate ease.
    It’s a pity there’s no mention of who’s responsible for the backing tracks. Some of the best I’ve heard for a long time. Varied in tone and orchestration and never overbearing.
    From The Sound of Music to Shania Twain, and some Lady Gagga with The Beatles thrown in for good measure. All well-conceived and well placed.
    Two encores at the end of the show and I leave happy…. “

  2. Simon Cooper

    Coming out on Tops in Absolucy
    By: Jordan Scott
    10 Feb 2012 11:49Submit a commentBizLike
    And another other view from Jordan Scott of BizCommunity –
    “Absolucy is performed by Lucy Tops, and Tops is definitely the appropriate surname. Lucy studied at the Waterfront Theatre School and not only is she an actress, but also a singer and recording artist (she has even sung in China at the Hilton hotel). She has performed in various productions, such as Glory Days, Dancing Queen, That 80s’ Show and The Great Gatsby.
    Absolucy is the humourous story of an alcoholic and how she got to where she is now. The quirky lines and perfect comic timing are all supported by a voice that can only be an angel’s. The songs are all classic hits that have the audience bopping in their seats and trying not to burst into song along with Lucy. Front row seats allowed for a first-hand glance at the story of a woman who first started drinking when she was 16, but has never been drunk.

    Seamless portrayals

    Lucy also pulled in other characters who influenced her story and portrayed them seamlessly, using nothing more than a hat and a pair of sunglasses. Audiences can look forward to dance moves and songs that will take them back to the days of their youth. (There is even a sprinkler move or two and a beautiful rendition of Lady Gaga’s Poker Face.)

    Lucy is a sexy, sweet, awkward, bootylicious and rebellious character who you can’t help but fall in love with. The show will be running from Wednesdays to Saturdays until 3 March. Tickets are R95 and you should note that there is a PG 12 age advisory. I fell in love with Lucy (the character) and Lucy Tops in one hour, I’m sure you will too! “

  3. Pieter Bosch Botha

    Here’s a review from Yoursoapbox.co.za that fully agrees with Megan:

    “An evening spent watching Lucy Tops sing is always going to have a major positive point – she has a remarkable voice. Her vocal technique and her versatility and control are sure to inspire many a young songstress, not to mention being a delight to listen to. It’s not hard to see why she would be a hit in any Barnyard or casino show. I certainly look forward to hearing her own material once she releases her album.

    In terms of the song choices, there is something to please everyone. Glee fans will enjoy hearing Idina Menzel and Lea Michele’s gentle version of Lady Gaga’s Poker Face. There are a couple of Beatles standards, Annie Lennox, Tina Turner and even a little Mary Poppins. The vocal highlight was not even in the show though. A cover of Adele’s Someone Like You came as an encore.

    If Absolucy was simply a collection of songs performed by a very capable songstress, there would be no problem at all. But what is offered is a sort of affected tell-all about Miss Tops’ alcoholism, with a tot of embellishment and a vast plum in her mouth which fell out occasionally.

    Set at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting but also veering off and shattering the fourth wall with an almighty kick to the face, Lucy tells us about the role of alcohol in her life. The show consists of great songs but with some laboured jokes, imprecise accents and the incorrect radio technique for an “inner monologue” recording. These are things that could easily be fixed with a few rewrites and skilled direction.

    The lines are so blurred between what is based in reality and what has been manufactured for the stage that I spent the full 50 minutes trying to decide whether I was actually watching the subject of alcoholism being dealt with in a flippant and dismissive way. If Ms Tops is in fact dealing with this addiction (which I honestly can’t be sure of), then the show comes across as a therapeutic tool to help someone, who happens to be a performer, deal with a very serious problem in her life. It’s a bit like paying to watch somebody else’s therapy session and that element of the show urgently needs to be addressed.

    What Absolucy absolutely lacks is an experienced director to focus every element of the production. It’s particularly awkward witnessing intimate details of a real marriage within the context of a comedy cabaret. Despite being an autobiographical story, a lack of authenticity means that I simply don’t know whether to believe a word of it. After finally delivering the well known “ … and I’m an alcoholic” line, Lucy invited us up to the bar for a drink…

    But if you ignore the shreds of story and the uncomfortable pillow talk moments and focus on the music you’re sure to come away raving about Ms. Tops’ considerable vocal abilities.

    – M. HUGHES”

  4. Pieter Bosch Botha

    In terms of my own opinion, well I also agree with Megan and Yoursoapbox.co.za.

    There is no doubt that Lucy Tops’ vocals are TOPS – man can she sing! But I’d love to see her sing her own music. It feels a little like the show was structured around the songs she really wanted to sing, and not the other way around. Musical Theatre and for the most part Cabaret, work on the premise that a song comes at a point in the text when the emotion is too high to be spoken – they then burst out into song, a song which is an extension of the scene that preceded it. Whereas here the songs felt disconnected from the text.

    She is gorgeous, and a pleasure to look at. And she no doubt has a lot of talent!! But I fully agree that a much more experienced director is needed, and maybe even a dramaturg who can help develop the script. I didn’t sympathise with the character and I didn’t believe her journey.

    I also felt most of the comedy was old hat and stale. I’ve heard those punchlines before.

    They key here is that a girl who is hugely gifted needs to find a direction that is going to truly make her shine! And I have the utmost faith that she will become a force to be reckoned with – when she finds her own voice and develops original and exciting material with more edgy and more experienced writers and directors at the helm.

    Love the girl – didn’t love the show.

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