The Misunderstanding, The Space Triplex.
A modern adaptation of Albert Camus’ 1943 play, Le Malentendu, Martha and her mother keep a respectable little hotel, but have a small, secret peccadillo; they kill their lodgers for their money, in order to realise their dream of moving to the seaside. But what happens when the next “perfect” guest who comes to stay is their long lost (and not recognised) son/brother? It’s a challenging, complex play, simply staged, and Unexpected Places productions make a good stab at presenting it. Perhaps a little over ambitious, but the intrigue of the story keeps your attention.
Letter to Boddah, The Space @ Surgeon’s Hall.
Billy and Tink are locked in the disabled toilet at Tesco; they’ve got a bomb and they’re not afraid to use it. Actually, they are very, very afraid but, even though they are best mates, they have to keep up the pretence of bravery and commitment; until something snaps and they pour their hearts out to each other, confessing the abuses, fears and desperations that have blighted their lives. The Boddah in question refers to the imaginary friend of the late Kurt Cobain, who wrote him a letter as a suicide note. Kyle Fisher and Jordan Reece play the unlikely terrorists with huge conviction and energy, and Sarah Nelson’s play is smartly, humorously and emotionally written. No wonder it was a huge success at last year’s Fringe.
The Last Flapper Greenside @ Riddles Court.
Zelda Fitzgerald arrives for her doctor’s appointment at the sanatorium but he has been called away on urgent business which gives her the opportunity to ransack his office, steal his cigarettes and read and amend her medical notes. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, she tells us about her journey to where she is today – her relationships with her parents, her own creative life of dance, and her infatuation with F. Scott Key himself. It’s an immense performance from Catherine D Dubord, who is totally on top of her game as Zelda – confiding, joking, and literally hysterical. The Clover Studio is an over-hot claustrophobic little place – the show needs a bigger venue to accommodate her terrific performance.
Best Comedy Show Edinburgh Fringe, Laughing Horse @ 32 Below.
With a typically understated title, the hugely likeable Ben Clover returns to the Fringe with a nifty set of funny routines, including handing over dubious goods for cash deals at tube stations, the aftermath of the pandemic and how to write an Amazon review. We had seen some of the material before but that was at a Work in Progress show, so that doesn’t count! Fresh and funny, and a superb engager with the audience so that we all have fun together!
Unstitching, The Space @ Niddry Street.
Ruby Shrimpton presents herself as a young woman desperate to make contact, to express herself and to reach out and offer us a thread to grab hold of, something we can both identify with. Eurovision is obviously her chief passion (and why wouldn’t it be?) but she also packs each sequence with tons of “fun facts”, bizarre worries, and unconfident asides. “Is this boring?” she asks; “You can leave if you like…” The ultimate deconstruction show, where Ruby picks apart every yarn that holds her together, and several that don’t. If you’re a Eurovision fan, you’ll have loads of fun identifying songs, dance routines, and statistics. If you’re not, you might find this a bit of a hard graft. I really admire what she is trying to achieve with this show, and it’s almost certainly different from any other show you’ve ever seen. It feels thoroughly experimental; if you like that vibe, you’ll love this show.
1 Tent, 4 Girls, Greenside @ Infirmary Street.
If you’ve ever gone on a camping holiday – especially in the UK – you’ve almost certainly gone on a camping holiday in the rain. Rosalie Roger-Lacan’s entertaining new play follows Sam, Lily, Rosa and Ruby as they brave the natural beauties of North Wales with a tent that only has Norwegian instructions and a quickly fraying sense of community friendship. There’s lots to recognise in this fun play; somehow petty jealousies, sensitivities and frustrations all get aggravated when you’re freezing cold and drenched. The play is perhaps a little long and a little repetitive, but the characterisations are all excellent, and the team of Ella Hakin, Evie Cooper, Alice Bebber and Bethan Owen make a formidable ensemble.
Perfect Pairing: A Wine Tasting Dancegustation, Greenside @ Infirmary Street.
Geelong’s Attitude Dance Company has come up with a quirky and pretty much unique entertainment; pairing four different contemporary dance pieces with four different wines. Admittedly, this sounds somewhat gimmicky, but – guess what – it really works! A talented group of four dancers – Sarah Glynne, Tara O’Donnell, Monique Powe and Xavier McGettigan – perform four widely different but smartly choreographed and executed dance routines, accompanied by a Cava, a Rosé, a White and a Red. And it’s a thoroughly enjoyable, relaxing and civilised way to end the evening. Better than you might imagine!