Browse reviews

Edinburgh Fringe 2009

Lucky Dip


Venue: C, Chambers Street (until 31 August)


Low Down

 Meet two losers, Doug and Fran. You name it, they will compete for it – holidays, cars, spending vouchers, TVs, electrical goods and cash, cash, cash.   But their drive for tangible reward masks their inability to relate to the rest of the human race until, finally, they compete against each other.


Doug and Fran are both losers. Doug has never had a girlfriend that’s stayed with him for more than an hour, hardly surprising since he’s been a competition nerd for the past 12 years and could bore for Britain about how to win the most obscure contests yielding the most unlikely prizes. Fran is also a competition nerd. For the last 10 years, winning is what has mattered to her and she has a Machiavellian streak to augment her obvious competitive zeal.

They meet in a competition to see who can sit for the longest in a bath in full view of the public. As the days pass, the barriers start to come down as Doug tries to establish a bond between them. To Doug, making friends is more important than winning, though you wonder how this geekie, gauche, naïve, garrulous young man could ever achieve his laudable aim. He’s the grown up version of the kid that everyone bullied in the school playground. But to Fran winning is more important than friendship as she shows by callously lying her way to success in the bath sitting stakes, playing on Doug’s gullibility and belief that he has found his first real friend.
The writing draws you to the characters, making you wish Fran would lighten up and that you could protect Doug from the harsher elements of modern society.   There are some great one-liners – “this is all about love, that’s why it’s so depressing” and “reminiscing is the romance of language” are but two in a series of statements that make you pause and think about the balance between material acquisition and the maintenance of decent human relationships. In the end, love triumphs over materialism. Fran realizes that there is nothing wrong in being loved and that it is possible to return that love. So Doug finally gets a friend. 

It’s a gem of a tale, very well told by the two principal actors and augmented by a delightfully over the top vignette from game show host and sometime DJ, Vince. And if they are giving out awards for inventive uses of a plastic bath that has been cut in two, this show will win hands down. Said bath comprised the entire set and is used as a desk and chair, part of a maze, a pair of sofas and a podium for the game show host. Oh, and as a bath as well.