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theatre review: glamping with bobby and the pins

Photo: Rohan Spong

Photo: Rohan Spong

 

Showing at The Butterfly Club from 3-6 July, female barbershop quartet Bobby and The Pins are making their theatre debut with Glamping, an hour-long jaunt through the wilderness and a score of old-school barbershop favourites. There’s also plenty of dick jokes and the typical highs and lows that come when friends are pushed to the limit.

Bobby Blue has got herself into a spot of trouble with the law and hastily organises a ‘surprise’ holiday for The Pins so she can hide out. The four high-maintenance friends, all modelled on 1950s female stereotypes, are bitterly disappointed when they are taken to the bush to go camping. However, with Bobby Blue’s stolen loot in tow (Tiffany jewels, champagne, gowns) the camping trip soon becomes glamping – glamorous camping – and happiness is momentarily restored. The realities of camping can’t be kept at bay for long and pretty soon, tempers flare: the four Bobbies have a spat, each going their separate ways. At this point I was reminded of my own travels with pals and the inevitable fight followed by each of us storming off.

As happens in these situations, the women are initially overjoyed to be doing whatever they like until fear and regret settle in. Bullet Bobby finds some magic mushrooms and puts on a performance for her idol Frank Sinatra. Bobby Rae, the sultry temptress, finds the rugged woodchopper of her dreams while the demure teacher Bobby Dazzler loses her shit when she thinks she sees a cat. Eventually the four find one another and kiss and make up, before Bobby Blue comes clean about why they’re in the bush in the first place. Amidst the apologies, there’s some straight talking: ‘We have been a bit shit’.

The direct and crass dialogue is a refreshing juxtaposition to the well-worn stereotypes that make the rest of the show a little bit like wading through mud. The characters are somewhat predictable and I felt this restricted the plot and and the humour- apart from the rude bits and some excellent moments of physical comedy. A mosquito drunk on light is one standout.

The real talent of Bobby and The Pins lies in their voices. The women have perfected barbershop quartet harmonies and also do some impressive solo work. Together, they seem confident, comfortable and assured of their singing. It’s a shame that these talents aren’t more evenly spread across the acting, dancing and plot development that are also key to good musical theatre. Don’t expect too much complexity in the characters or storyline, but if you’re after something light and a little bit cheeky, Glamping fits the bill.

Want more on Bobby and the Pins? Check out Emma’s entertaining  interview with Bullet Bobby!

 

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