Deadpan theatre’s Edinburgh debut touches upon many areas of life, from the most mundane to the deeply moving. This light hearted comedic piece gets off to a slow start, but stick with it and you’ll soon find yourself getting strangely attached to these misfits of the Welsh countryside.
Deadpan’s first foray into the Fringe won’t blow you away, but it will certainly make you smile.
Writers Eliot Salt and Artemis Howard star as the brilliant double-act of Bonnie and Karen, ageing Welsh lesbians stuck in the rural recluse of Tonypandy who find their quiet contented lives shaken by unexpected loss. It’s a neatly confined comedy; it often feels like we’re watching an episode of some early millennial sitcom, this production being merely the first of many. It takes a while to get on its feet: sitting around on sofas with a glass of wine for the majority of a scene puts immense pressure on the script to deliver. At times it does, but at others it’s drawn out and occasionally it even falls flat.
Despite occasional wobbles, the script fares well and some brilliant characters emerge, brought to life by the capable hands of this strong cast. Robyn Wilson establishes the anxious adolescent Robwyn flawlessly, while Katie Wells is comfortable as Kerry, her irritating best friend. Hector Dyer as George offsets their girlish charm brilliantly in his transformation from sickly sweet to pseudo-bad boy (complete with black leather jacket). Angus Whitehorn similarly excels in animating the hopelessly devoted Owain Griffon in his besotted attempts to woo the fiery pencil-skirt-wearing Lynette Hope (a confident Bryher Flanders).
Regardless of strong performances, it’s evident the play still needs work. Salt and Howard’s script declares warmly that “sometimes the silly things matter” and that’s exactly what this production takes as its go-to: it’s silly and it’s sweet. Thoroughly enjoyable, Deadpan’s first foray into the Fringe won’t blow you away, but it will certainly make you smile.