Flame Proof

Lesley Hart's latest play begins when Health and Safety Officer Lyssa is disturbed from her work of securing a wedding marquee at three in the morning by Buddy, the alcoholic brother of the bride. However, there’s much more to the setup than initially meets the eye as the two argue, discuss and lie their way through the next hour.

A highly enjoyable and very intelligent piece of theatre which thoroughly deserves its transfer to the Traverse Theatre next week

At the heart of this excellent production is the rapport between the two actors. Michele Gallacher as Lyssa and Billy Mack as Buddy quickly build a totally believable affinity between the two strangers. Gallacher brings a human sympathy to her rather outlandish character, while Mack manages silliness and deeply affecting vulnerability with equal skill. Together, they give a real sense of enjoying being on a stage together that is a pleasure to witness.

They are given plenty to work with in Hart's script, which is witty and intelligent. It has plenty of one-liners and nice set-pieces, but it always keeps its heart at the centre of it, ensuring the play is always primarily best viewed as a character piece. It does such a good job of this that even the more absurdist moments (which might, in the hands of a less skilled writer, have looked ridiculous), are rendered with real pathos.

The play is extremely neatly structured, and perfectly paced for its hour on the stage. Key secrets are introduced, allowed to build to a point of tension, and then revealed for optimal effect. It gives the play a sense of delving deeper and deeper at a fantastic pace which is a lot of fun to be a part of.

Occasionally, though, it goes a bit far: the central metaphor that gives the play its title is a little heavy handed, and there's some content about addiction that works extremely well for one character and not at all for the other. Generally, however, this is a highly enjoyable and very intelligent piece of theatre which thoroughly deserves its transfer to the Traverse Theatre next week.

Reviews by Grace Knight

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The Blurb

Lyssa’s ex-fiance is getting married in the morning. It may not be her wedding but it will sure as hell be her big day. Buddy is dreading the wedding in the morning. His ex-wife will be there with her new fiancé. Lyssa wants to destroy the wedding. Buddy wants to destroy himself. They could do a lot of damage, should they ever meet. And they do, at 3am in the wedding marquee. Will they survive the night together? Will the wedding go to plan? Whatever happens, there will be fireworks.