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Camden Fringe: The Wrong Side of Right, The Phoenix Artist Club

Part of the Camden Fringe 2013
Danielle Meehan
Directed by Simone Watson

★★★★

Pros: An innovative autobiographical take on life as a jobbing actor.

Cons: Outside the room of the performance it was a bit noisy, so that was occasionally distracting.

Our Verdict: A very personal and universal story that bristles with intelligence and wit.

As I write this review, The Catherine Tate Show is on in the background – the sketch where the

Courtesy of The Phoenix Artist Club

affluent mother and children from the Home Counties are terrified by the arrival of their ‘Northern’ nanny. It’s quite apt, seeing as this review is about a show where accents and assumptions play an important role.

The Wrong Side Of Right is a one-woman show performed by Danielle Meehan, and a very funny one at that. This is in large part to her fearlessness and self-deprecating candour. Initially we are introduced to stereotypes that actresses are often asked to play, which are amusingly depicted. However, the show really finds its ‘groove’ when Meehan interacts with the audience and talks to them directly.

Quite early on in the proceedings, we are told that Meehan is from southeast London. This leads to some amusing observations about the sort of parts offered to actresses who don’t naturally use Received Pronunciation (RP), as well as what the accents of regional stereotypes are a shorthand for. Does this attitude stem from institutions like RADA and the media, or is this ingrained in the DNA of the nation?

At one point, I was particularly amused by the use of iambic pentameter in conjunction with a Lewisham dialect. This made me think about the use of RP in the news and the media in general. Can you imagine if there were many regional accents used in Shakespeare’s canon? As someone from the Midlands, what Shakespeare imagined King Lear sounding like may be very different from how he’s played today! But I digress.

The use of a projector to show graphics and filmed footage throughout the show really complemented Meehan’s stage performance and was funny in its own right, as opposed to being a distraction or a hindrance. It goes without saying that Meehan also shows she’s an accomplished comedienne.

As mentioned previously, a large part of the show stems from her own experiences, and there are a number of references to her family. While in some ways Meehan’s tale is a personal story, one of its strengths is that many actors (and non-actors) can relate to it.

Later in the show we find out the catalyst for Meehan’s decision to put on this show. It could have stayed a very downbeat moment or been very mawkish, but I was impressed by how it was turned into a point of celebration and there were general high spirits. Even the intrusion of people at the end who came for another show, couldn’t abate the good mood!

Seen the show yourself? Agree or disagree? Submit your own review with our Camden Fringe Big Audience Project. 

 The Wrong Sort Of Right runs at The Phoenix Artist Club until 8th August 2013.
Box Office: 08444 77 1000 or book online at www.camdenfringe.com

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