Edinburgh Fringe 2010
It’s that man in the pub who’s got a story to tell and he won’t go away until you’ve heard it – but hey, wait a minute, this one’s got an interesting story to tell that’s witty and entertaining.
The truth can set you free – on the other hand, it can also lose you your friends and your job. Dave, the man in the corner of Milne’s Bar nursing a bottle of bud and that telling stubble, can no longer lie; he can’t even tell his ten year old nephew the white lie that his drawing is lovely.
A civil servant, working at Westminster for the wonderfully named Department of Strategic and Tactical Development or STD, Dave is disillusioned by his job, by his boss, by modern life. When his boss, Ben, persuades him to lighten up and join them on a night out, this only serves to heighten his disgust and loosen his tongue. He launches into a vitriolic diatribe in the pub toilet and tells his boss exactly what he thinks of him in no uncertain terms.
Having reduced Ben to tears, Dave sets out on a drunken Pilgrim’s Progress voyage of redemption through London. Fuelled by copious consumption of Merlot and vodka, punctuated by place-names like some dark Dionysian London A-Z, Dave wends his way home.
Raging with fury at modern day life, Dave is a deeply misanthropic, world-weary character but his dissection of 21st century banality resonates with truth. Trystan Gravelle’s performance as Dave finds a skilful balance that lets us warm to this dark and bitter character and find sympathy with his worldview.
As George Burns famously said, “Acting is all about honesty. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made”. Trystan Gravelle has got it made.
Exploring how much honesty is acceptable and the lies we tell one another, DC Moore’s script is darkly sinuous and piercingly funny. The gags come thick and fast, the word play is skilfully constructed and the wit is perfectly directed. Definitely a playwright to watch.
And a performance to watch. This one-man performance may only be 45 minutes long but it certainly packs its punches and picks its targets.