The makers of last year's Love Letters to Rappers and the winners of the Brighton Fringe Audience Choice Award 2018 invite you to a moment of reflection as they gather for the funeral of Pat Riarchy.
This was a play of fantastic promise that does not entirely deliver.
The performance revolves around how Pat touched everyone’s lives if a different way, entirely without consent or regard for anyone else. It sparkles with tongue-in-cheek humour as all those who he has impacted are here to remember his life, tell their stories, and break into song.
Held together with blasts of comedy, music, and education from the excellent funeral celebrant (Beth Hodd), the entire performance hits its message home of exploring the damage that Pat did to everyone around him.
However, the show wishes to do a bit too much. It is an explanation of the history of feminism and how Pat hated it. It is an exploration of how Pat cast his shadow over class, race, sexuality, gender, body and mind. It is musical theatre, comedy, history, PSA, and stand-up.
While In Loving Memory of Pat Riarchy is an enjoyable performance, it never seems to be entirely settled with how funny it wants to be, how informative it wishes to be, or how serious it wants to get. While it is entirely possible to excel at all three, as was proven with Love Letters to Rappers, it does not quite strike that balance this time around.
I left the venue feeling that I very nearly saw something special. The idea was there, the venue of One Church Brighton was inspired and the cast is packed with talented actors and musicians. While I am begrudgingly using a sports analogy, the ball was in their hands but instead of running, they broke out into a respectable jog.
There are undoubtedly good moments, most notably being Beth Hodd’s wonderful ukelele parody of Spice Up Your Life and Pat’s son (Rhys Mobsby) rejoicing at his freedom to be himself now his old man is out of his life.
I love the idea of In Loving Memory of Pat Riarchy, even if he is sadly quite alive and well today, but I cannot help but think that this was a play of fantastic promise that does not entirely deliver.