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Camden Fringe 2015: The Singing Psychic (Tristan Bates Theatre, London)

singing psychic Marysia Trembecka as 'The Singing Psychic'.
singing psychic

Marysia Trembecka as ‘The Singing Psychic’.

In A Nutshell

Uncanny and effortlessly chic, The Singing Psychic reads an audience as accurately as individuals, resulting in supernatural hoot of a show.

Overview

Marysia Trembecka has a special gift. She can hear the music in your soul. From the songs that ring in her ear, she can tell more about you than you know. Dishing out songs and personal readings like free Guardian music CDs, what of the life of our supernatural songstress?

Concept

Trembecka’s creation is an interesting blend of cabaret and solo theatre. The cabaret element of The Singing Psychic involves interacting with the audience and giving individuals personalised readings, where Trembecka finds out the songs that were big around the time of your birth to deduce your personality from them. The solo theatre element is Trembecka telling the story of her character’s life in how she became The Singing Psychic, from the time they first realised their gift, through Psychic School, and many failed career options.

These two elements gives Trembecka an great opportunity to flex two of their talents. The first is cabaret and character ability. Trembecka is spontaneous and quick-witted depending on who the crowd are and how they’re responding, delivering unexpected quips that are laugh out loud funny and wonderfully fun. Equal parts believable and unbelievable, from the Polish accent to the 1970s fashion sense, at no point in Trembecka’s performance or creation does The Singing Psychic waiver as a personality no matter what is thrown at them.

Then, there’s Termbecka’s ability to perform The Singing Psychic’s history through solo theatre technique, given them the chance to flex a more meticulous written wit and comic storytelling. There’s a wonderful discography of situations and cheeky, funny songs that go with them, not to mention the cameos from Edith Piaf and Maria Callas: Trembecka’s two spirit guides. The result is that The Singing Psychic is a larger than life and as entertaining as they are spookily talented in their psychic ability.

The only problem with The Singing Psychic is that it’s a show that relies very much on both the size and the dynamic of the audience. For the best results, a large, happy-go-lucky audience will mean that Trembecka will thrive. However, that’s not to say a small audience means a bad show. Trembecka’s performance abilities and the show’s format means that you can be certain of a good time given The Singing Psychic’s theatrical flexibility. There’s a capacity to do more readings or more back story as appropriate to suit the atmosphere the audience brings with them, but there’s still a bit of a risk to take going to see The Singing Psychic that that evening might not be the best performance that there could be. However, the best advice will be to bring as many like-minded friends as possible and that The Singing Psychic to make it worth the punt, for a show that’s is inherently exciting and unpredictable.

Performance

Trembecka is exuberant, fun, and unapologetic with their quick-fire quips, meaning The Singing Psychic can work a crowd like no other. From the word go, everyone is included and interacted with, limiting the any possible aggro caused by sceptics or rabble-rousers, relaxing and pacifying the audience as a whole. Even if you don’t believe in The Singing Psychic’s abilities, what Trembecka does is make this show personal and fun none the less. Whether The Singing Psychic is a piece of genuine supernature or inspired character performance is irrelevant, because the show work wonders on both levels given Trembecka’s infectious joie de vivre layered on top of a great and solidly structured concept.

The Singing Psychic’s readings are scarily accurate. There are people in the audience who genuinely aren’t plants and seemed genuinely taken aback at how spot-on Trembecka’s readings are. The songs that were number one on your birthday and popular whilst you were in the womb are accurately researched and listed in Trembecka’s grimoire, and not one reading seemed to go against the grain of the recipient’s own personality or documented fact regarding the music charts. The readings err on the side of cheeky, but never uncomfortable, intrusive, or over-personal, making you smile and blush but never offending. They’re fun, even if a touch embarrassing, and its as riveting anticipating what will come out of your own reading as it is observing someone else’s, leaving you a touch chilled by The Singing Psychic’s spirit-given talent. But as talented as The Singing Psychic is at reading individuals, Trembecka is also excellent at reading the audience theatrically. If a moment of the back-story performance feels like its starting to drag, Trembecka livens things up with more psychic japery to ensure no-one becomes lost or frustrated with the show, adding variety and changes of pace as and when is needed.

Then, there’s nothing left but to mention but The Singing Psychic’s voice. A shrill soprano tone, it’s certainly an unforgettable sound, if even Callas insists Trembecka should practise a lot more!

Verdict

Groovy, ghostly, and giggle-inducing, The Singing Psychic is high-spirited hi-jinx that will surprise as much as entertain.

The Singing Psychic plays at the Tristan Bates Theatre, London, WC2H 9NP, until 22 August 2015, as part of the Camden Fringe Festival. Tickets are £10 (concessions available). To book, visit http://tristanbatestheatre.co.uk.

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