Here is all the chaos of a Fringe-like show turned into a Fringe show: a farce about two plays being performed by one cast while their unreasonable and definitely shady writer/director adds in new scenes and characters willy-nilly. The pandemonium created here is impressive, not least because most of it happens offstage where only distant crashes and our imaginations can conjure up the worst of disasters.
For those who appreciate a bit of clever farce this is a commendable show.
Amongst all the confusion the cast do a relatively good job of pacing it all and juggling the various elements of the story, which is actually about a missing Dave, a criminal plan and mysterious briefcase. We meet Lucas who once tried to write his own play, the leading not at all vain lady Sam, the harassed theatre owner Danielle, Lawrence who’s desperate to prove himself, his wife Nikki and of course the tyrannical “creative genius” Al.
Then there’s the interlopers, an acting company called LOADs, whose intentions can’t be good. We are privy to the comings and goings of the actors as they try and keep two plays sailing along at once, dropping amusing hints to their storylines. Screaming Stormy Winter involves a king, a queen, a throne covered in superglue and a fiery finale while Cunning Runts involves nuns, a gin fountain and a very poorly rehearsed love scene. There’s also a sousaphone that blares out every now and then to keep us on our toes.
What’s really going on here? Ghosts, evil twins, a gang of criminals posing as actors, insurance fraud - it’s all possible. This is energetic, riotous farce that for the most part hits its targets. Occasionally a line misses its moment or the dialogue could have been smoother, and sometimes the confusion created is a bit too effective to keep up with what’s going on. But it’s tied together nicely and for those who appreciate a bit of clever farce this is a commendable show.