Review: Joan, Babs and Shelagh Too

actress Gemskii in Joan, Babs and Shelagh Too
actress Gemskii in Joan, Babs and Shelagh Too
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JOAN Littlewood was a formidable woman. Driven, passionate, she was determined to see and hear working-class people both on the theatrical stage and in the audience.

Zoo Southside, Nicolson Street

To portray a headstrong pioneer, who did her upmost to change stuffy, 1940s-era theatre, however, is no easy task. Thankfully, actress Gemskii is up to the challenge.

Originally intended to be an ensemble piece, this one-woman show runs you through the life of Littlewood, giving brief glimpses of character as she goes.

Mimicking Barbara Windsor, she describes Littlewood as “a real bully, who got the best work of my life out me”.

The actress clearly knows her topic as she bravely invites audience members to throw questions at the Shelagh and Babs characters.

Gemskii says the show is for a “niche” audience, which is a great pity considering what Littlewood did to make theatre more accessible to the working class.

Yes, it’s a bit rough around the edges and it’s still evolving as a performance. Indeed, Gemskii tends to change the show each night depending on audience reaction.

Maybe Littlewood is too large a character to pin down, or maybe this is just the way Littlewood would have wanted it: label-less.

Until August 31