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The Colby Sisters Of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Published 26 June 2014

What’s it all about?

This new play by Canadian playwright Adam Bock, which he has decided to premiere on this side of the pond, is the tale of five glamorous sisters at the height of New York society. For these girls a broken nail constitutes a major crisis and a hard day involves carting around a handbag full of presents. To the outside world they have the perfect lives, but when tragedy strikes at a gala dinner their relationship is thrown into turmoil and they begin to see each other in a different light.

Who’s in it?

Claire Forlani, Patricia Potter, Isabella Calthorpe, Charlotte Parry and Alice Sanders play the five siblings of its title. Parry gives a convincing performance as the bossy and obstinate Gemma, who is both terrifyingly unapproachable and undeniably generous towards her sisters, not least Forlani’s financially bereft Willow.

While Willow may seem emotionally traumatised by her incapability of buying a new pair of shoes, sister Garden’s problems take on a more serious nature. Potter compellingly conveys Garden’s broken heartedness as she struggles to deal with her husband’s infidelity, striving and failing to find a reason to carry on.

Completing the Colby clan is Calthorpe, who oozes grace as the demure and beautiful India, and Sanders’ Mouse, the wild child of the group with a new boyfriend every week.

Together they paint a striking picture of sisterhood, and the bickering and jealousy that comes with it. Ronke Adekoluejo completes the cast as the personal assistant whose job it is to put up with them.

What should I look out for?

Richard Kent’s striking costumes, which make the stage look like a catwalk.

In a nutshell?

Underneath the posh frocks and expensive manicures is a sterling cast of actresses who perform this character driven piece with heaps of panache.

Who was in the press night crowd?

The married duo behind the Tricycle Theatre’s 2012 hit Red Velvet, Lolita Chakrabarti and Adrian Lester, and writer and comedian Jennifer Saunders, whose opinion of the show can be seen, under the guise of @ferrifrump, below.

What’s being said on Twitter?

@cillianroche: Colby Sisters @TricycleTheatre finding humanity in the most lamentable of societies castes. Brilliantly played, like kites in thunderclouds.

@ferrifrump The colby sisters @TricycleTheatre is totally brilliant. All female cast. Clever writing. 1hr 15 no interval. Go see it!

Will I like it?

While the world that the Colby Sisters inhabit will be alien to most, anyone who has a sister will be able to identify with the characters at the heart of this entertaining piece. It is likely to appeal more to women than men but anyone wanting to see a game of tennis that rivals a Djokovic match when it comes to lost tempers should head to the Kilburn High Road for an evening that is game, set and match in a swift one hour and 15 minutes.


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