A show with some clever and funny scenes, but it needs more work in order to impress.
Thirty-year-old Delphine has never been abroad, never been to a club, never kissed anyone, and, crucially, never been in love. She leads a discrete, almost child-like existence, working quietly in a bookshop and living with her mother, of whom she speaks with a glowing affection. Frightened by the outside world, she looks on from the distant security of her home and her bookshop. However, this banal existence is overturned by an unexpected romance with Bill, a customer who Delphine has recognised for months but never dared speak to, and whose presence forces Delphine to step beyond her comfort zone. Much of Pointing’s performance is played for laughs in an exaggerated, character-comedy style. Sadly, the comic value of this production is limited and the slightly unimaginative humour leaves the audience feeling a little uninspired. The jokes can quickly become repetitive, playing again and again on the same traits and idiosyncrasies – in this case Delphine's awkwardness. There are some nicely written comic moments, but for the most part the humour is not particularly original or funny.
However, the show doesn’t really work as a pure drama either. The storyline is a simple one, about about romance and growing up, and it's fairly traditional in its themes. The acting is exaggerated for comic effect, which proves to be slightly distracting and gets in the way of developing the play’s emotional themes. Nonetheless, there are some strong moments as Delphine begins to overcome her oppressive anxiety. In one memorable scene she confronts the catcalling misogyny of a group of builders. This is a wonderful moment of striking character growth and a definite highpoint to the play as a whole. Sadly, we wait a long time for these developments and the heartwarming, coming-of-age narrative does not reach its full potential. Of course, there is no reason a show should have to fit neatly into being either comedy or drama – many of the Fringe’s best production blur the two. The problem for Delphine, however, is that it falls quite flat on both counts. Delphine is a show with some clever and funny scenes, but it needs more work in order to impress.