Heather and Harry is a romantic yarn detailing the story of Heather, an angel cast out of heaven by her misogynist rapping boyfriend Zeus, of Greek mythology fame. Your opinion of this show will likely depend on your tolerance for the phrase "misogynist rapping boyfriend Zeus" – but if that sounds to you like the richly enjoyable fun that it is, then Stumble Trip Theatre have plenty more for you with their hour of clowning in Heather and Harry. The show rockets through musical numbers, dance breaks, fight scenes and aforementioned raps before getting to its thoroughly heartwarming conclusion. Over the course of the hour, it is impossible not to fall for the company's DIY aesthetic and talented performers.
A heart-warming hour of grown-up fairy tale theatre.
Refreshingly, none of the three performers that make up the group are tasked with the tiresome duties of the "straight man", instead all being allowed to flex their comedic chops and singing talents equally. The two trained clowns on stage, Grace Church and Chloe Young, consistently delight the audience with both their performing skills and natural charisma, carrying the story through occasional repetitive sections with moments of delightful improvisation. The third member of the group, Laila Woozeer, provides an inventive and engaging soundtrack for the show complete with piano accompaniment and vocal sound effects (including the occasional spoken aside). The show also doesn't lean on the audience as so many do for cheap laughs, instead opting to keep the fourth wall mostly intact, allowing for more emotional investment in the story. Whilst said story is unmistakeably silly, it is enjoyably never undercut with a need to wink at the audience and therefore still manages to be emotionally engaging.
Many performers at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe use clowning as a method to subvert and cause chaos for both the fans and the unexpecting alike, to the point where one could be forgiven for believing that this is its primary function. However clowning as a function for delivering pure comic storytelling is utilised fantastically well here, as the formidable dancing talents of Chloe Young, the hugely-varied musical skills of Laila Woozeer and the amazing comic timing of Grace Church are used to bolster an admittedly slim and simplistic story into a heart-warming hour of grown-up fairy tale theatre.