Theatre Preview: The Rise And Fall Of The Hamburger Queen, Unity Theatre, Liverpool

Written By: Mark Armstrong

Through comedic characterisations, dazzling dance routines, and a show-stopping voice (obviously, she can do it all) taking you on a journey through her life: from rags to riches, from Liverpool to London, from Nabzys to Nandos, Ashleigh Owen announces The Rise and Fall of The Hamburger Queen, a brand new one-woman comedy show which makes its debut at The Unity Theatre as part of Homotopia Festival from Thursday November 3-5. You are invited to join her, so bring along your funny bones, your dancing shoes … and your inhalers.

The Rise and Fall of The Hamburger Queen is a story that may seem like it treads a familiar path. A one-woman show, a performer struggling to make it in the harsh world of showbiz, life lessons, colourful characters, and the most graphic musical number about childbirth you’re likely to find anywhere.

Building on the success of last year’s Scratch and See performance, Homotopia Festival are now bringing you the full shebang. The brainchild of Ashleigh Owen and Paul Burke, the show tells Ashleigh’s real-life journey in trying to make it as a performer and the struggles along the way (the term ‘real-life’ is one to be taken with a huge pinch of salt!).

Ashleigh has expanded upon her solo award-winning cabaret piece “A Fat Girl’s History of Dance”, which won her the crown at Scottee & Amy Lamés’ acclaimed talent competition/beauty pageant for plus size people: “Hamburger Queen”.

It’s a one-woman show unlike any other. It’s a one-woman parody, with original musical numbers, outlandish characters, several dance routines, a killer script, and did we mention the childbirth bit!? (Sorry Mum).

This show explores being an outsider; building on the experiences and the challenges competing for work in commercial theatre brings through their obsession with size, age and ‘beauty’.

But don’t worry too much about the serious stuff, you’ll be laughing and tapping your feet too much to notice. You might even learn something….. About yourself!

Ashleigh’s professional performances have included Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the International Shakespeare Festival in Gdansk, Poland. In 2011, Ashleigh set up her own theatre company ‘Catfish Theatre’ with a fellow graduate from her University (London Met). Their first production was an adaptation of Eugene Ionescco’s The Bald Prima Donna. Ashleigh played Mrs Smith, which was a lead role, and also directed the show. It was well-received with over nine performances, including the Cockpit Theatre in London. This was followed by a Liverpool performance at the Lantern Theatre. Ashleigh looked to expand upon her solo comedy and cabaret work and applied to the much-lauded Hamburger Queen Competition, which was a highlight of London’s alternative live art and cabaret scene. Ashleigh went on to win the competition: £600 prize money, and a slot to perform the winning piece at Bestival. Since 2013, Ashleigh has been collaborating with writer Paul Burke on creating a one-woman show inspired by Ashleigh’s real-life experiences of leaving Liverpool to become a performer in London and the turbulent world of auditions. The ups and downs became a quasi-autobiographical, comedy cabaret show featuring dance, physical theatre and themes that Ashleigh identifies with.

The Rise and Fall of The Hamburger Queen runs in the Unity Theatre until Saturday November 5. For ticket information, click here.

You can learn more about Ashleigh Owen by clicking here.