Archive | February, 2017

cautionary tales

3 Feb

CAUTIONARY TALES for daughters

Songs your mother never taught you.

BY Tanya Holt – Writer and performer

With Jenny Gould at the piano.

This solo performer is mostly talking about herself in a supposedly self-critical way.  Tanya sets off with a disadvantage from the beginning, giving herself the persona of a pushy mother – a bit off putting for someone who has met a lot of these in her lifetime. In this monologue, she is presumably giving advice to her daughter Dotty to make sure the child doesn’t make the same mistakes.

When she was a child she wanted to be a cowgirl but felt under constraint to be a fluffy little princess. A Daddy’s girl! She then imagines herself into the persona of a Daddy seeing his teenager daughter out with a boy for the first time. He is anxious, knowing the kind of mind of a young boy has and what they are thinking.  After all he was one himself (MY feeling is that he still is).

The first act finale is a graphic description of her birthing experience. I found myself longing for the interval and my chocolate ice-cream.

However, there are some jolly things. The set is without a set – just odd bits and pieces dotted about, a piano and a screen. The visuals are amusing, most especially the ones with medieval characters that keep us entertains while she sings a song accompanying herself on the zither. The song is similar to Hardy’s story of the Ruined Maid, without the happy ending. Tanya has a powerful voice which she often uses at full volume. Later she also plays the musical saw.

After the interval she carries on with some more little lessons about the mistakes she has made, presumably to teach Dollie not to repeat them.

There is a girl on a yo yo diet, the girl who submits to her boyfriend taking pornographic pictures of her which he then puts on facebook. The dangers of overspending of designer handbags. The boss who molests his female staff and they are not able to complain. She talks about a man who will hit you. Be careful not to accept his love and apology afterwards – or he’ll do it again. Just walk out straight away.

There are some very lovely bits. ‘A little Grey’ is about finding the first sign of ageing. She sings this a capella, very sweetly.

She is at her best when she is chatting to the audience and getting them to sing or hold her fans to cause a breeze during one of her numbers in which she resembles Kate Bush.

She praises alcohol and how lucky she is to always knows when she’s had enough always blaming her regular bouts of vomiting on the potato chips or peanuts.

I think she is at her best when she is communicating with the audience, getting them to sing, or to hold her fans to cause a breeze when she does a Kate Bush kind of number.

Jenny Gould is a huge asset, she changes costume for each number, plays up a storm on the piano and harmonises with Tanya in her high soprano.

The show is very womanish – not quite my cup of tea. I could imagine her being a blast at hen nights.