Edinburgh Fringe 2009
Brett Goldstein’s play was widely acclaimed following its broadcast on Radio 4 earlier this year. Adapted for the stage by Temple Theatre and starring the author, it is a thrilling satire on love, lies and Hollywood endings.
Ray is a user – of things, situations and people. Troubled and tired of scraping a living in the UK writing screenplays that no-one wants, he uses his situation to give it one last throw of the dice – in Hollywood.
Success is even harder to find and so, for therapy rather than any other motive, he pens a screenplay about a dysfunctional family with some intriguing secrets. Down to his last $5, he gets a call from a waning US movie star who adores the script he sent her. He’s got the break he wanted, all he needs now is to find the finance.
In Hollywood, stony broke, that means one thing – bed the daughter of a potential financier. To the husky, good looking Ray, this is like falling off a log. The rest, as they say, is history.
Relationships are at the kernel of this play. The chemistry between Ray (Brett Goldstein) and his PR, Katie (Susanna Herbert) is obvious from the opening lines. We find out that she is Ray’s fiancée well into the play, but the quality of the acting means that this revelation is hardly a surprise.
Similarly, the change in atmosphere the moment Tara (Felicity Wren) enters tells you all you need to know about her and Ray before a word is uttered. This threesome dominate proceedings, never afraid to use a long silence, to speak sotto voce, to raise the roof or to use that staple feminine fallback, tears.
The acting is top notch, keeps you hanging on every word and ensures that the surprising the denouement remains tightly under wraps until the very end.
I won’t spoil it for you but take a tip – never underestimate the power and intelligence of the humble PR. Katie is not the bit of fluff most of the testosterone class would put her in. She’s delivered the end product – Ray and his image – and she’s too smart to risk losing that, for anyone.