Courtney Rose Brown
Ashton easily slips in between characters based off Austen’s novels (with nods to modern day people and contexts), maintaining a high energy show and clear characterisations, with a flick of a wrist or a slightly lower tone she completely transforms. Supported with lighting states (designed by Bonnie Burrill) that set up clear locations, for example a green gobo created a forest, only added to the humour in her mime of events and interactions with other people.
One truly joyful moment was when Ashton made audience participation a highlight rather than a moment of dread and fear. This point of connection with the audience really welcomed them to respond to the action. Where at times they became so sucked in that numerous audible gasps and cries of ‘no’s were heard as commentary to the action. Whilst using the space differently as each character, altering in speed and gestures for characterisation, Ashton rarely was still. When she chose to be still and silent this created genuine moments of sympathy that were then interwoven with humour. Ashton, encouraging the audience to continue on in their sympathetic behaviour towards her, transformed emotional scenes into much more humorous ones.
Musical interludes appeared throughout the show, delivered with a beautiful, strong voice carrying witty and charming lyrics, accompanied on occasion with dancing. The music design, composed by Robbie Ellis delivered ambience, pizzazz and complimented the lyrics, supporting their humour.
I have never experienced such booming laughter which on the odd occasion influenced Ashton’s control over the scene, making the experience more enjoyable and proving a true testament to her skill in her maintenance composure.
The show ended with Ashton eventually bowing as each individual character, because it appeared that the applause would never end, clearly Promise and Promiscuity is definitely not one to miss! Luckily for Wellington it is on till the 21st of May at Circa Theatre. Show times are on Tuesday to Saturday 7.30pm and Sunday sessions are at 4.30pm.