With the first show of a week long run done and dusted, An Evening With Savvy B started as it will surely mean to go on, with an impressive debut and not a spare seat in the house at the delightfully intimate Alphabetti Theatre. Devised by Hannah Walker and Rosa Postlethwaite, it’s heavily centred on the person we become when we drink, with Walker on stage next to a projection of her alter ego Savvy B; she talks wine and hosts something of an informal wine tasting throughout the evening.
It’s clearly a well researched piece of theatre; as every little movement of Savvy B is exquisitely nuanced in showing the hold alcohol can really take on us. Her interactions with Hannah are fascinating to watch, and such is the quality of the filming and acting, that it’s quite easy to take for granted it is one person doing all of this. The writing throughout is very strong, and leads to a laugh rate that doesn’t let up; with big laughs at that too. It’s a comedic affair, though there’s a really sweet tenderness when Hannah Walker plays just Hannah that keeps it all grounded.
It’s the eponymous character of Savvy B that will steal the show for many, as she’s so keenly observed; it’s hard to draw your eyes away from some quite brilliantly subtle drunken playfulness. The interactions between the two displays the disconnect between the person we are, the one we want to be, and the one we become when we drink and it’s a credit to Walker’s acting in both roles that it never feels like you’re watching a performance, you’re just in the company of an interesting soul sharing a glass of wine; albeit with a lingering, drunken devil on her shoulder aching to get out.
The strength of the show comes in the understated awkwardness offered up by both characters; Hannah has an endearing charm that shines through, though the playing of the single she made when she was 16 hits that perfect dichotomy between confidence and vulnerability, which for many is a reason alcohol consumption becomes such a key social activity. Savvy B fills the room with a different kind of awkwardness, a cheeky and ever escalating ability to be a bundle of trouble is always lurking behind the slower more sensual delivery.
An Evening With Savvy B could easily have been longer, indeed, it’s not that it so much felt short, but that there was room for even more; the narrative to it all was captivating enough to hold an audience for longer, should Walker and Postlethwaite wish to expand on this in the future. For now though, they have on their hands an incredibly watchable, relatable and very, very funny piece of theatre which still has four more nights to run at Alphabetti Theatre, with show closing on Saturday 10th September; just in time to partake in a bit of weekend drunken antics of your own.