Komedia @ Southside, Edinburgh
August, 2000

This 70-minute three-hander has received warm plaudits as a tiny find on the Fringe this year, and to be sure it bowls along nicely in terms both of writing and performance; however, it doesn't really withstand much closer scrutiny.

Homeless Tony has been invited to kip down on her sofa for a while by Penny (Sarah Mann), a wonderfully ditsy young woman who jabbers thirty-eight to the dozen. He claims to be finished with drink, but evidently needs it in order to kick-start his personality. Soon he meets the secretive Joan, the flatmate Penny barely ever even sees; Joan seems to be the "real" Tony's equal in acerbity, and a triangular relationship is gradually mapped out.

Jim Madden (who also directs) writes a lot of great lines, but can't always integrate them into a consistent character: Michael D'Cruze's drunk Tony transforms into a dressing-gowned NoŽl Coward, and Stephanie Price finds that the only way to cope with Joan's knowing bile is to be as brittle as a Twiglet. The duality of the women is explicitly signified by their black/white costuming and similarly coloured furniture on the set, but the question of whether they are simply sisters, or intended to be two aspects of the same person, or what-have-you, is fogged over in an Entertaining Mr Sloane-style closing movement. Madden shows great promise, but this piece does not deliver the whole package.

Written for the Financial Times Web site, ft.com

Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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