Christopher Durang’s play Laughing Wild has been wonderfully adapted to fill Funny You Should Ask’s 50 minute time slot to create a play so uproarious and so terrific you’ll wish it had lasted forever.
The show begins with The Woman (Bethan Ratcliffe). She wants to talk to you about life, about how someone got in her way in the supermarket when she was trying to buy a tin of tuna fish, about a fight she has had with a taxi driver. Then enters The Man (Matt Malone) - he is similarly neurotic and emotionally unstable but aspires to give you a motivational speech. The plot thickens as the pair become increasingly frantic and confused about how their minds work: the result is a show which manages to be simultaneously side-achingly hilarious and disarmingly surreal.
The acting and direction behind this production are absolutely impeccable. Each character is perfectly crafted and we follow their every move and twitch with baited breath. Ratcliffe need only purse her lips for a laugh whilst Malone has the audience crumpling up with his angry mutterings. Charisma is brought to each persona which keeps them both sympathetic without detracting from their craziness: they are intense but also highly entertaining. This means that the play is carried with an almost ridiculous ease. There is no need for innovative explorations of staging techniques or an exciting set simply because the audience wouldn’t notice anything else while these characters are on stage.
Laughing Wild is performed with such a distinct subtlety that even the more complicated third section is incredibly fluid, despite its complex structure. Dreams run into hypothetical scenarios and then back to the present absolutely seamlessly, meaning that this play finishes on a priceless crescendo of hilarity. Ultimately, Durang’s play is brought to life in a magnificent way by an astoundingly talented team: this is a must see.