Sunday, August 12, 2007

"Armageddon & Fishcakes" - Edinburgh Fringe 2007

A light-hearted comedy would always have a difficult time on a rainy Saturday morning in Edinburgh, but the fact that "Armageddon & Fishcakes" by Touch Wood Theatre appeared to have a pretty good attendance was a good sign. But just how funny could a show about the four horsemen of the apocalypse be?

Re-united after some time apart, the four are to bring about the prophesied end of the world and judgement day. But having spent so long living as humans some are less eager than others to fulfil their task.

Fenella/Famine (Ali Hodge) appears to be the leader of our group and along with an 'interesting' line in picnic food provides the central role of the piece. I'm still struggling hours later to put my finger on exactly why, but I found the character as written to be irritating and tiresome with a level of smugness beyond my tolerance. While this was clearly intentional (and performed to have that impact) it really pushed my buttons and my lack of any empathy with this central character did affect my enjoyment as I found it hard to 'laugh with' rather that 'at' the character.

Trish Donnelly as Wendy/War gave a particularly strong performance while Ian Donnelly (Percy/Pestilence) and Andrew Patrick (Derek/Death) were effective in their roles as was Geoff Allen (the Tramp). I enjoyed a great deal of the dialogue for these three and there were some genuine laughs in there, but I'm not sure that the full comic potential of what is a very nice concept is really brought out.

Part of the reason for this are the intercut scenes of an editor and his assistant as they examine potential news stories, and despite the admittedly nice pay-off at the end, these scenes don't add a huge amount to the piece and serve as a distraction from our real interest.

I'm glad to have seen the show, but my personality clash with the lead character was detrimental to my enjoyment of the piece as a whole. Shame really, as there is definitely the potential for a good show in there.

"Armageddon & Fishcakes" run at Diverse Attractions is now completed.