Marriage

Adapted from Nikolai Gogol's original play by Tom Parry – one third of Fringe favourites Pappy's – Marriage stars the cream of Edinburgh's crop: Ben Clark (also of Pappy's), Adam Riches (Edinburgh Comedy Award Winner) and sketch duo Lazy Susan, among others. With such a pedigree of comedy talent, this classic farce has been given a new lease of life.

The group dynamic manages to reach sublime levels between this gaggle of ridiculous yet loveable characters.

The tale concerns Peter (Ben Clark), an alcoholic, carefree and wealthy taxman who decides to swap his life of decadence for the safety and comfort of matrimony. He is helped – and regularly hindered – in his quest by his best friend Charles (Adam Riches) and professional matchmaker Fanny (Camille Ucan), both of which are determined to be the one to secure Peter his bride. Unfortunately for the bride-to-be, Agatha (Celeste Dring), Fanny has also lined up three other potential husbands whom she must navigate, all the while avoiding her Aunt's plans to wed her to the local greengrocer.

The embarrassment and misunderstanding that rise from this tale of desperation and awkwardness lead to laughs aplenty, but despite the farcical nature of the play the characters are surprisingly well realised. Ben Clark manages to capture the indecision and naivety necessary to humanise Peter, and the two members of Lazy Susan have a perfect chemistry in their roles as Agatha and her Aunt. Coupled with the cynical and manipulative undertones of Fanny and Charles, and the weary subservience provided by Richard Soames in his role as manservant Stephen (and his female counterpart, Stephanie), the group dynamic manages to reach sublime levels between this gaggle of ridiculous yet loveable characters.

Despite the overall brilliance of the work, their are some drawbacks. The sparseness of the set and lack of props mean that the actors are occasionally pushed beyond their miming abilities, and the relatively slow pace of the piece seems at odds with its sixty-minute runtime; but in essence this is a good-natured play with excellent comic performances that will have even the most hard-faced audience members giggling. 

Reviews by Ed Barnes

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The Blurb

Marriage: Institutional. Inevitable. Inescapable. Awful, isn't it? Gogol's delirious classic gets a fresh twist in a new adaptation by Tom Parry (Pappy's). Starring an all-star sketch comedy super-group including Adam Riches (Edinburgh Comedy Award winner), Ben Clark (Pappy's, Badults), and members of Edinburgh Comedy Award nominees Lazy Susan and The Beta Males (Radio 4). Directed by Russell Bolam. 'A riotous adaptation of a classic' **** (Daily Telegraph, on School for Scandal).

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