Sunday, August 22, 2010

"Wild Allegations" - Edinburgh Fringe 2010

In Edinburgh University Theatre Company's "Wild Allegations", Matthew John Curtis is a well known sitcom actor who has alienated both his girlfriend Theo and brother Alex to the extent that they are working with a journalist to expose his failings to his adoring public. It's almost the perfect Fringe show - original, funny, fast paced, well performed and creatively directed. All it lacks is an ending that delivers the punch it deserves.

Ed Sheridan plays Curtis brilliantly, both for laughs as an actor of somewhat limited talent (think Joey from "Friends") and in his more passionate scenes as a man who wants to break out of the mould he has created for himself. As Alex, Paul Brotherston is hugely engaging and connects instantly with the audience. Some of the moments the two share are comedy gold and phenomenally well executed. Alexandra Wetherell gives a compelling performance as Theo and succeeds in making the character sympathetic despite her dubious actions. The cast is completed with impressive supporting performances from Llinos Henry as journalist Caitlyn and Sophie Pemberton and Tom Watret in numerous roles.

The writing from David K Barnes and David Leon is of a very high quality, ensuring that the many laughs are not at the expense of characterisation. Indeed, the three central characters are far more emotionally complex than we have any right to expect in a show of this length. And it's a testament to the strength of the writing that the ending feels unsatisfying - the audience is invested in the characters to the extent that we need a big finish for them. Barnes and Leon also share a directing credit and give the piece a very striking look and feel, although perhaps a more objective director may have cut a cinema scene whose payoff doesn't justify it's place in the production.

But any flaws do little damage to the whole - this is unquestionably a fantastically enjoyable way to spend an hour. And while we don't normally comment on ticket prices, I doubt you'll see anything better than this for £5.

Wild Allegations runs at Bedlam daily at 1pm until Saturday 28th August
Image by Camille Acosta used with permission.