Patch of Blue return to the Edinburgh Fringe with their scrumptious offering of
Beans on Toast is the epitome of simple Fringe theatre.
Hackneyed bean metaphors aside, Beans on Toast presents a simple and relatable story in an intriguing and engaging format. Jen and Scott’s relationship is shown in fragmented memory sections with whole episodes divided throughout the play, yet it never feels jumbled. The format is cleverly used by director Alex Howarth to manipulate the audience’s feelings and interpretations, leading to a nice twist towards the end.
Jen and Scott are played collectively by a cast of six. Alexandra Simonet, Danielle Williams and Tanita Gold all play Jen in various different memories, whilst Joshua Garwood, Matthew Marrs and Callum McGuire play Scott. All do so with gusto, bringing their own individual quirks to the characters whilst maintaining an overall consistency. They are more than capable of playing out more serious and tragic parts of the play, yet there is always a lingering sense of playfulness and fun in the air with this cast. All fully commit to a very silly rendition of the 20th Century Fox theme tune before a movie, yet also display more developed musical skills throughout the show as well.
The script feels very natural and real. The dialogue never feels stilted or forced and we’re quite ready to believe in any scene or location change from the student’s living room strewn before us, though these scene changes are often just indicated with a held-up sign. A scene worthy of particular mention is one involving MSN Messenger. Without wishing to spoil, the scene will register perfectly with those of a certain age who remember using it in all its early 21st century glory.
Beans on Toast is the epitome of simple Fringe theatre. ‘Sweet’ and ‘lovely’ are two words that immediately spring to mind after seeing this play, but that is not to devalue its dramatic impact and intriguing development of character and story. You can’t help but feel determined to get to its root, only to feel slightly heartbroken when you do. There is no cheese with this serving of Beans on Toast; just well-cooked, solid substance with a sprinkling of wonder.