Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour Opens in the West End

Following a critically acclaimed run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, UK tour, and sell-out run at the National Theatre, Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour premiere in the West End at the Duke of York’s Theatre.

Aside from the success of its previous runs, Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour recently won the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy, while its all-female cast received a collective nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

This smash-hit production brought back five of its original cast, namely Caroline Deyga as Chell, Karen Fishwick as Kay, Kirsty MacLaren as Manda, Frances Mayli McCann as Kylah, and Dawn Sievewright as Fionnula. Meanwhile, joining the company is Isis Hainsworth who stars as Orla. Also on stage are musical director Amy Shackcloth and assistant musical director Lilly Howard on the keyboard; Emily Linden on guitar; and Becky Brass on percussion.

The story follows six Highland girls whose Catholic school signed them up to sing in a choir competition. But when they reach Edinburgh, the girls head out to town to get wasted.

The cast of Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour on stage at Duke of York Theatre. Photo courtesy of TheStage.co.uk / Manuel Harlan.
The cast of Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour on stage at Duke of York Theatre. Photo courtesy of TheStage.co.uk / Manuel Harlan.

A review of the Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour premiere on Financial Times writes that although it is not for everyone, the show is “noisy, funny, intriguing from an anthropological point of view, sad, and scary”.

Meanwhile, the Evening Standard praises the show for presenting “the same sublime singing and an exhilarating blast of female agency” seen in the previous productions.

This is the girls’ show

The girls’ “unfeminine” manners have caused a stir among audiences since Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour began showing at Edinburgh. It even caused some members to walk out during the show. The cast and creatives seem unconcerned about this, however.

In an interview, Dawn Sievewright said that it’s important “to show how young women talk and act. A lot of people are shocked by that and think they shouldn’t be speaking in that way. But it’s not a Greek tragedy, it’s not Shakespeare. It’s working-class girls doing what they do.”

Writer Lee Hall noted that popular media has often ridiculed these types of girls found in the story. But he and director Vicky Featherstone created the show “to have something that celebrated these people. They are powerful, intelligent young women.”