The Bloody Ballad
At Volcano, Swansea
15th April 2013
Murder, incest, kidnapping and arson don’t sound like the perfect ingredients for a feel-good rockabilly music show yet Gagglebabble’s The Bloody Ballad is guaranteed to leave you with a huge smile on your face (and possibly a nauseous feeling in your stomach).
Meet Mary Maid (Lucy Rivers) and her band The Missin’ Fingers. Mary’s had a tough week and would like nothing more than to share her tale with you before the authorities catch up with her.
After a few warm up tunes – including a brilliant rendition of Johnny Cash classic ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ by guitarist Dan Messore and an astonishing drum solo from Tom Cottle – Mary tells all about ‘What my Daddy Done (in A minor)’ pun most definitely intended. Knowing her back story it doesn’t come as a surprise when Mary falls for the first man to show her real romantic attention – a mysterious, shifty yet charming wanderer Connor (Oliver Woods) who works his magic on the whole audience with his velvety vocals.
After a week-long whirlwind romance Connor betrays naive Mary and the consequences for him are not pretty at all. Mary may be young but she can sure look after herself – leaving a trail of blood and bodies behind her. Including the body of Connor’s psychotic, snakeskin wearing Mama played (with more energy than can be safe) by Hannah McPake.
Lucy Rivers is perfect as our ill-fated heroine, with a tortured look in her eye and a mean singing voice, a bit like True Blood’s Sookie Stackhouse but a lot more kick-ass! By the end the stage is littered with severed fingers, a snake’s head and a whole lot of blood!
Drawing on clichés of 1950s Mid-West America – the isolated gas station, the mysterious wanderer, hillbilly culture – the cast get every bit of humour out of the brilliant script (also written by the hugely talented Rivers). The amount of musical skill on the stage is phenomenal, every member of the cast could play, sometimes multiple, instruments and all had brilliant bluesy vocals.
It’s so refreshing to see such a raw and passionate production that, although professional, doesn’t take itself too seriously. The performers’ love for the show was so infectious and it was an absolute crime that more people weren’t there to share the unforgettable experience!
Not only will the toe-tappingly good tunes replay over and over in your head but the great flair for simple storytelling will ensure the tragic tale of a girl from the wrong side of the tracks will haunt you for a long time.
A truly original and daring production that smashes through so many genres –part folktale, part Tarantino violence and part rock and roll gig – 100% unmissable!
This is THE best touring music show you will see.
Seriously get yourself a ticket for the tour then go see it again in Edinburgh!
For more on the company : www.gagglebabble.co.uk
Gwyn Hall, Neath
Date & Time: 17th April, 7.30pm
Box Office: 0300 3656677 / www.nptartsandents.co.uk
Tickets: £9, £7 members, £5 students
St Donat’s Arts Centre, Vale of Glamorgan
Date & Time: 19th April, 8pm
Box Office: 01446 799100 / www.stdonats.com
Tickets: £12.50, £10.50 conc
University of Wales Trinity Saint David
Date & Time: 24th April, 7pm
Box Office: 01267 67 6669 / www.ticketsource.co.uk/tsd
Tickets: £6, £4
Torch Theatre, Milford Haven
Date & Time: 25th-26th April, 7.45pm
Box Office: 01646 695 267 / www.torchtheatre.co.uk
Tickets: £12/£10 conc/under 26s £7
Soho Theatre, London
Date & Time: 29th April-4th May, 7.30pm
Box Office: 020 7478 0100 / www.sohotheatre.com
Tickets: £10 Mon + Tues, £15 (£12.50 concs) Weds – Sat