This year marks the 10th year the Comedians’ Theatre Company appears at the Fringe. Essentially, the show consists of 10 dramatic (or not so dramatic) monologues by 10 comics. You can’t get all 10 on the night though – for that you would have to shell out for two tickets, divided into groups of five as they are on a given day.
It takes professional comics out of their comfort zones and denies them the safety rope of cheap laughs
On the evening I attended, the audience was presented with pieces performed by Ivo Graham, Diane Spencer, Seymore Mace, Jo Caulfield, Jo Romero, and Sajeela Kershi (we were lucky enough to get a bonus performance). The monologues themselves featured an account of a visit to the proctologist, a Top Gear audition tape and a discussion of UK-issued automobile rear-light designs (this performed by Graham, who gives a touching performance of a young man with Asperger’s), among others.
The strongest performances came from Caulfield and Spencer. The former plays a jilted partner, wracked by her man’s succession of lovers, like a female Leopold Bloom, doing what she can to ignore the tell-tale signs. Caulfield’s performance is low-key and accentuated, qualities not every comic possesses. Spencer’s display is arguably the strongest of the hour. She plays a new Mother, haunted by her past experiences of loss. Her delivery is earnest yet understated, crafting a heartbreaking tale that packs such emotional resonance into her 10 minutes on stage. The other performers are strong, but Spencer’s portrayal (and, it must be said, the quality of the writing for her piece) sets her apart.
You could argue that all stand-up is a monologue of sorts, but 10x10x10 is different in that it takes professional comics out of their comfort zones and denies them the safety rope of cheap laughs, if only for a brief period. If you have any interest in comedians as performance artists then this a worth a look – and a refreshing respite from the manic atmosphere of the Pleasance Courtyard below.