Goddess No Divine Production

The Goddesses
London Fringe
Playwright: Lucy Williams
Director: Peter Pownall
Stage Manager: Pat Bell
Featuring: Lesley Quesnelle, Carol Robinson Todd, Linda Worsely, Lucy Williams
Dates: June 8 at 7 p.m.; June 9, June 15 at 2 p.m.; June 10 at 7:30 p.m.; June 11 at 8:45 p.m.; and June 12 at 6 p.m.
Time: 55 minutes

“I feel as if I’m in a bad Fringe show.” The line uttered by Frances (played by Carol Robinson-Todd) was supposed to be a wink-and-a-nod joke amongst the audience, but sadly The Goddesses is far from being a divine production.

The story, focusing on the interaction of four women, is set on the patio of the eldest woman’s home – Grace, played by the play’s author Lucy Williams. The Goddesses is a play that aspires to be a heartfelt celebration of the power of the family you choose. It’s supposed to be a celebration of the friendship that steels us through moments of tragedy, death, and strife.

Unfortunately, it’s a play that strives for too much. A dialogue-based play is defined by its precision and interplay, but The Goddesses suffers from recitations that range from flat to overly dramatic. There were times where the actors forgot their lines (and the cues were audible to the crowd); there were times where the dialogue was inaudible, or where key moments were overwhelmed by another actor jumping their lines.

Sadly, a play built upon the foundation of casual conversation comes across as stilted, with forced emotion and awkward cadence.

All four actors are likeable and, as an audience, you want them to succeed. But the initial credit of audience sympathy is quickly spent as the play jumps from sensitive buddy story to light-hearted comedy to a heist caper and back again. It is a case of trying to be all things to all people and losing sight of the roots of this play – a celebration of four women’s friendship.

Each woman is defined at various points of the play (in memories of Grace’s late husband Lawrence) as a particular goddess: the goddess of love, the goddess of family, the goddess of friendship, and – somewhat forced – as the goddess of real estate.

In classical mythology, a goddess would have responsibility over only one domain. Rarely would a god or goddess be all things to all people – and overstepping their domains would invariably lead to disastrous results.

It’s a history lesson that The Goddesses would have well heeded. In trying to be a play that’s all things to all people, The Goddesses fails to reach divine status and is pedestrian at best.

  /    4

Jay Menard is a communications specialist by day, freelance man about the media by night -- and father and husband first and foremost. Born in Montreal, Jay has bounced between Montreal and London writing and broadcasting on all media: print, Web, radio, and TV. More known for business, news, and sports writing, Jay has always loved attending and writing about the arts, and brings an outsider's perspective built upon on a broad foundation of experience to his work.