Review: Just a Little Something I’ve Been Working On

Ruth Wilkin  Photo:  Rebecca Humphries
Ruth Wilkin
Photo: Rebecca Humphries

Ruth Wilkin swept onto the stage and charmed the pants off her appreciative audience.

Her character displays the blind enthusiasm of would-be entertainers everywhere. The star-struck childhood, the wounding rejection of multitudinous auditions, to the light-bulb moment where she discovers cabaret; the show that virtually writes itself and showcases only one star – herself!

Playing the endearing ingénue, who seemingly only opens her mouth to change feet, Wilkin imbued her persona with a plethora of mannerisms and bits of “business” only too familiar to music theatre audiences. Her little black dress was strapless, necessitating a frequent hoist up, her clumsy microphone technique was a great running gag and her parody of the dramatic gesturing employed by some contemporary vocalists, hilarious. Her comic timing was pitch perfect.

Understandably, Wilkin has won awards for the writing of this piece as well as performance awards. It’s an exercise in satire of a genre that often takes itself far too seriously.

No moment of her struggle to perform was too insignificant to add into the storyline.

Though she is possessed of an excellent voice there were bum notes and false starts. Wilkin’s physical humour was showcased as she moved from “sad bit” to “inspirational motivational song” with appropriate attitudes.

For aspiring cabaret artistes there was an informative session on how to write a song. Easy!

Hilariously, she noted well-meaning advice she had tendered to fellow thespians. The letter to George Lucas on the transformation of Star Wars into a hit Broadway-style musical and partial performance thereof, was a highlight.

A wonderful “Baby’s Got a Secret” revealed appalling deeds by the soon to be bride, just to set the record straight.

Indeed it must be said, Wilkin has nailed the art of the “spoken to music”, self-examination number to a tee. The angst, the personal revelations, the soul laid bare.

Ruth Wilkin displays considerable writing talent both for song and sharp dialogue. This was a remarkable effort and one relished by the Downstairs @ the Maj crowd.

She and Trevor Jones were a seamless team. His work as an accompanist was full of panache and the occasional vocal participation, amusing and stylish.

This show is an object lesson in how to take a single jokey idea and build it into a quirky, clever entertainment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *