Review: Rosalie Minnitt: Clementine, Soho Theatre

Rosalie Minnitt’s character comedy, Clementine is billed as ‘Bridgerton meets the Mighty Boosh.’ Minnitt was awarded the 2023 Luke Rollason Bursary ahead of taking the show to Edinburgh for her first full Fringe run. Opening at Soho Theatre it is again directed by Tristan Robinson and Alison Middleton.

Clementine is a farcical feminist show that follows the titular Lady Clementine as she attempts to put her as-far tragic love life behind her and find a husband by her 27th birthday. The problem is that it’s which is one day away. The consequence of failure would be to be sent to the asylum like her Aunt before her – but there is hope; the Bellby Ball is tonight and could offer her a chance at love before midnight.

As it opens, Clementine claims that it is based on a true story and ‘100% historically accurate,’ even if it’s chain of events sets the sinking of the Titanic in the 1700s. That’s part of the audience being told the events happen ‘in whatever time period you like.’ It gives Minnitt plenty of leeway to cleverly play on not just the tropes of Bridgerton and other period-style pieces but also on modern dating tropes. Historic activities are given a modern angle – with bloodletting becoming an act of self-harm rather than a medical activity.

There is much to admire in the satire and in Minnitt’s energy in performing it which is lapped up by an eager audience at the late-night performance, even if it is sometimes over-zealous. However, it suffers from an element of technical naivety which is unfortunate given its heavy use of projections and sound effects – which are used to great effect when they work. Tonight’s performance was slightly delayed due to a technical issue and the show itself suffers from a few technical problems with both lighting and sound.

The sound occasionally overrides Minnit’s speech at key moments and the stage lights create problems seeing the projections behind Minnitt. Some of this may have been unavoidable – though it’s hard to tell and a short speech by Minnitt at the end of the performance makes no mention of the issues affecting the show. But there are also points, including the finale, when the projections are cut off entirely due to the scene’s blocking.

Blocking is also an issue during the rest of the play too. There is no allowance for the limited rake in the auditorium during the multiple moments of action that take place on the stage floor with anyone beyond the front row struggling to see the action. Reviews from Edinburgh suggested similar problems, which if resolved would make for a more rounded show, but fans of unhinged comedy will still find a lot to love in Lady Clementine’s tale of love’s pursuit.

Rosalie Minnitt: Clementine is at Soho Theatre from 15-18 November with additional dates from 27-29 November.

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