Definitely one of the most immersive productions I’ve witnessed this year, Tipping the Velvet goes a long way to demonstrating exactly why the Italia Conti Academy has the reputation it has wrought for itself over the years.
The entirety of the cast exude performing talent to an overwhelming degree and attack this show with raw enthusiasm and passion. It’s the kind of production that really makes you stop and appreciate the art of acting, and the tireless work, commitment and grafting that goes into it. This production of Laura Wade’s adaptation is a labour not just of love but of respect, discipline, and a yearning to entertain.
Anna McKelvie is utterly impeccable in her performance as Nancy, able to a command an array of subtle emotions and deliver lines so that attention is demanded for every word. Megan Fleet, as Kitty, likewise disappears into her role with a memorable exuberance, and her performance with McKevlie makes for one of the most believable and moving onstage relationships I’ve seen at this Fringe. Harry O’Reilly, Nathan Braniff, Kyle Matson bring a dynamic energy to proceedings as the trio of Narrators, with easy comic timing and confidence in their delivery, and Rebecca-Scott Livingstone and Declan Spaine,as Florence and Ralph, are measured but strongly emotive and endearing in bringing their roles to life. The entire wider ensemble are a ridiculously talented bunch, truth be told, but Molly-Marie Buckley and Razvan Suiogan must in particular be highlighted for a versatility and performing presence across the play.
The choreography and movement of this production is also entirely flawless. Every single actor onstage is at every time entirely in sync with every other, flowing smoothly with the narrative with not a moment out of place. The Direction, from Jack Gogarty, and Movement Direction, from Caitlin Smith, have created something truly artistic in how this performance is staged; it’s a large part of how Italia Conti have made the Victorian world of Wade’s play so real and reachable. Lastly, Graeme du Fresne’s music arrangements infuse the tone of the performance with that little extra something to perfectly complete the atmosphere of this all around beautiful production.
Another wonderfully emotional and intricately put-together performance from Italia Conti. The names seen in this production are most certainly names to keep an eye out for, and this production in particular one to see while you can. Only two performances left now: Today and Tomorrow at 3:05!