Edinburgh Fringe 2010
Tasked with finding a deserving individual for a “hooky” £1million, Jessica embarks on a journey of beneficence, introducing us to a wide variety of the good, the bad and the downright ugly along the way.
You’d have thought that giving away £1million would be relatively simple. After all, the three members of the audience that Jessica Ransom quizzed as she embarked on her journey of largesse came up with entirely plausible uses for this tidy sum. The trouble was, none fitted the criteria that Jessica, an operative in the local biscuit factory charged with spotting those that were misshapen or broken, had to fulfil. Her boss, an archetypal craggy northerner with a proclivity for Italian malapropisms, wanted the money (allegedly obtained by nefarious means) given to one deserving individual. No charities, no questions asked, know what I mean ‘guv?
And so the search continued, allowing Ms Ransom to parade before us a veritable feast of the unlikely, the unworldly, the uninitiated and the plain undeserving as she unveiled her considerable talent for characterisation, accents and role play. She is a strong enough actress to be able to take an idea, model a persona around it and then play that character to effect over a sustained period. And she is a strong enough writer to use her characterisations to prick the bubbles of those in supposedly respected professions.
So we had Eugenie, an unworldly artiste revealing that what she really dealt in was a lack of substance – Ransom cocking a snook at the art world perhaps – and Tanya, the Geordie bounty hunter with a penchant for body building and aggressive gestures. Then we had Judy, the upper class personal development guru with an attention seeking disorder seeking to cure those with a similar affliction – a dig at psychiatrists this time? These in-depth characterisations were mixed with shorter exposes including a widowed school ma’am, a rapid fire selection of people travelling on a bus with her who find out she’s got dosh to dish out and a couple of misfits on the biscuit factory production line.
It’s very clever stuff, nicely worked material with inventive use of video inserts, appropriate musical stings and, at one point, a daring and highly amusing raid on an unsuspecting member of the audience. All this leads you to expect a twisting, humorous denouement centred around the revelation of the deserving recipient of the biscuit bosses’ illicit booty. But, unfortunately, the ending proved rather wetter than the Edinburgh weather. Pity. But that was the only blot on an entertaining hour from a girl with a range of characters and the ability to spin a good yarn.