Violet

VIOLET ONLINE

DIRECTOR: Megan Furniss

CAST: Lynita Crofford

VENUE: Alexander Upstairs

UNTIL: October 18

RATING: ****

NOT for the first time, Lynita Crofford keeps her audience captivated for an hour or so with her authoritative portrayal of an interesting woman; last time around it was Emily Hobhouse, now it’s Violet, who has nothing so bourgeois as a surname, and a very open mind when it comes to sex. It attests to Crofford’s versatility that the two characters could hardly be more dissimilar – yet both are equally convincing.

Enhancing the performer’s natural talent in this cheeky one-hander is astute direction from Megan Furniss, who keeps the more extreme aspects of Violet’s personality under iron control. Crofford's delivery is understated, natural, and deliberately non-dramatic; in other words, she might be an acquaintance, recently encountered, who chooses to share intimate details of her life as a needy divorcee pushing fifty with anyone who cares to listen.

Her matter-of-fact tone and unselfconscious approach to subjects not normally aired in “polite” society (like Brazilian waxing) make this monologue highly refreshing.

It all starts with Violet's decision to announce the end of her marriage to her soccer-addicted husband at 10pm one Wednesday night, and thereafter her dependence on the internet for sexual gratification kicks in... from sex Scrabble to increasingly unsatisfactory cyber dates. It is astonishing how much ill luck can dog the efforts of a female in search of romance and some ensuing activity to assuage the tingle between her thighs. Violet travels a long and rocky road, picking up some wisdom along the way. Which she imparts to the audience with artless generosity.

A clever device to hold visual attention is a screen behind the sofa on which Violet spends most of her time with or without the solace of single malt whisky. Images of this caricatured but recognisable persona are projected in a spirit of careful mockery to reflect the activity or mood of given moments, alternating with prim Victorian woodcuts of conventional courtship.

Idiosyncrasies like an abhorrence of bad spelling (Violet does not appreciate her name misspelt as Violent) add to the character’s plausibility, and by the time Crofford exits the stage, we have the feeling that a new friend has entered and enriched our social ambit.