A postcard to adventure

Me, Myself and Miss Gibbs

MAC, Birmingham

****

IT ALL began with a postcard. Francesca Millican-Slater was an arts student looking for a project and she found it in a cluttered shop in Devon.

There she handed over 50p for faded postcard of Lincoln Cathedral. Dated July 15th, 1910, it was addressed to a Miss L Gibbs of 62 Douglas Buildings, Marshalsea Road, Borough and it carried the intriguing messages ‘Be Careful Tomorrow. A. C.'

And so began a quest which has lasted more than ten years as Francesca has toured the country and delved into archives in an attempt to discover the mystery. Who was A C? Who was Miss L Gibbs? And why did she have to be careful tomorrow?

No reviewer worth their salt will of course reveal any of these answers – that privilege belongs to Ms Millican-Slater but what I can say is that the journey is hugely entertaining.

Francesca presents the show as a monologue and a diary. She shares videos of herself as she embarked on her quest, photographs of people she met along the way, recreations of scenes with householders and sellers and some very interesting documents.

Blending detective novel with biography, she takes us through her discoveries – some amusing, some surprising and some tragic as we learn of a family's fortunes over the decades.

Francesca is a born story-teller, switching times and jumping into roles as the tale unfolds and self-deprecating of her own increasing obsession to dig deep into the lives of people she has never met.

Her manner is highly informal. She begins with a discussion of the best places to sit in the mac's Hexagon Theatre in order to ensure the best view of her makeshift screens and concludes by offering to stay and answer questions or allow further investigation of documents.

Me, Myself and Miss Gibbs performed to sell-out audiences at mac last year before heading off to Edinburgh Fringe and is now on a nationwide tour.

And with the story still on-going who knows where the it will go next? To 22-03-12

Diane Parkes 

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