Edinburgh Fringe 2009
Woody Allen’s fast paced and delightfully confusing comedy is bought to life by UCL’s Runaground. Short in length but big on staging; this piece is clever and endlessly original. With brilliant performances throughout, notably from cowardly and shrill lead Diabetes, or Natalie Simpson, this is endlessly fun and highly enjoyable.
The plot is pretty difficult to describe: it is supposed to confuse and delude the audience, outlined by the fact that most of the characters have no idea what is going on themselves. Basically, writer Hepatitis and actor Diabetes start by discussing the ending of the writer’s latest play, which, it is eventually revealed, is set in Ancient Greece and centres around the fundamental question: Is there a God? The play explores some interesting topics such as the use of the metaphysical and philosophy as well as the construction of characters and plot. Razor sharp performances and impressive execution make this a must see.
It goes without saying that the script is a delight. It undulates and has no proper structure. It’s scatty, but it’s brilliant. However, the challenge for these guys lies not in the script, but in it’s execution. Creating something interesting from an acknowledged script is often difficult and can lead to a piece that is quite disappointing. This is certainly not the case here: runaground have triumphed. They have created a visionary masterpiece, a creative joy and have stamped their own distinctive label firmly across Allen’s work.
Most of the credit here lies in the staging and direction. The cast, some of which spend most of their time being sat on – the things one does in the name of God! – are used inventively to create a number of structures, sets, and props. The script has clearly been pulled apart and scrutinized by a team that can be highly praised for both their comic timing and understanding of the theatre. Their eye for detail is also notable and should be applauded. Furthermore, as a group they work very well together which evident by their spot-on choreography. The cast are tight, punchy and execute the piece seamlessly.
Every member of cast is impressive in their role, no matter how big or small. From a watering Greek guardsman, to a desperate philosophy student, every character is believable. There is a brilliant love/hate relationship between the main lead roles, hepatitis and diabetes, which is both comic and enjoyable to watch. The audience is instantly engaged and immediately wants to see these characters develop and grow.
A master class in inventive staging and a directorial triumph, God is the perfect way to kick-off a day at the fringe. Light-hearted and quick, it makes a refreshing change from the abundance of heavier pieces. With a classic script and an exceptional cast, this is truly delightful.