Edinburgh Fringe 2010
Locker room antics raise more than a few eyebrows down at the Wafthead Lawn Tennis Club in this tale of sleepy suburbia. Just like Desperate Housewives – but with balls.
A five piece band plays soothing jazz rhythms in the garden of a pleasant suburban house. It’s a perfect late summer’s afternoon, the Fringe is drawing to a close so what could be better than to hit a few balls with those queens of the quiche at the Wafthead Lawn Tennis Club.
Turns out that there’s a bit more going on in the locker room than at first meets the eye though. Our queenies fancy the hunky tennis coach, but he’s hitting his balls in a different direction. And the seductive club president is out to see that her son retains his junior title, almost at any cost. And who is this newcomer from Brixton, that antithesis to John Lewis living and where Waitrose fears to tread?
It’s a well worn route this – upper middle class suburbia meets working class incomers, girl from former falls for boy from latter – but the music provides an interesting slant. The plot’s fairly racy as well, at least for a mid-afternoon show family show. My innocent ears couldn’t really credit what they were using that tennis ball firing machine for in the locker room, but the mind boggles.
The twelve strong cast certainly threw themselves into this with some gusto as well and were probably happiest when belting out the big chorus numbers. There, the choreography and singing were of a good standard. We had one or two interesting numbers as well – the Hebrew Rap caught the eye and ear. Elsewhere however, tired voices and a boisterous orchestra clearly on the home straight of this long production run meant that we lost quite a few lyrics and much of the musical nuance. And the lighting can best be described as eclectic – spotting was hit and miss and we could have done with more flood lighting when all the chorus was on.
The acting left a bit to be desired in some places as well. There were some well pitched performances from Matthew Ferdenzi and Meg Powell-Chandler and a nice range of styles from the talented Calum Melville who covered several roles but others were either too flat or too over the top – Fringe wind down syndrome again perhaps.
But credit where it’s due. The orchestra kept the tempo up playing with joie de vive, the cast ripped into the finale and true love won out in the end. All that was missing was a helping of strawberries and cream for the audience to take out into the sunshine at the end of a pleasant show that went with a swing.