Edinburgh Fringe 2012
"Mr Evelyn Waugh is writing a new novel and you are here to help. Gamble at the races, flirt outrageously and throw yourself into the live music. This plot-twisting tale is yours to decide but can you leave your morals behind?" Trailblaze immerse in the mileu with much fun and panache.
A packed Zoo Southside Cabaret bar witnesses an alcohol drenched dive into Waugh, and just a bit more. Trailblaze Theatre brought this little gem to the Hendrick’s Library of Delightfully Peculiar Writings during the Brighton Fringe in May 2012 and lit the place up with their raucous and raunchy hour.
The decadence is caught neatly between the fingers of creativity and easy playfulness that gives this piece its evocative flavour.
What’s the good of writing for an audience if you don’t put them to work ? We will have to sing for our supper by deciding what stories comprise the evening. This is done gently and is thankfully not over egged nor forced.
Claiming the cabaret space is achieved well and from the moment we enter the space. Sometimes the vocal delivery needs more oomph and the interaction feels a bit too rough round the edges in places. However, the energy never flags, the time races by packed with infectious fun and a decent amount of comedy too.
Some slick comedy set pieces shine at regular intervals when they use the whole space here, then the stage there, making full use of ensemble physicality, dialogue and music.
You can’t sit on the outside of this show that so often steps out to include us in the mood and feel. If you stay detached it will be at best enjoyable. If you let it surround you and engage, you’ll find it draws you in further and you’ll enjoy basking in that mood.
We get to vote and influence the show in places and because it isn’t overdone it simply adds to the sense of fun and the feeling that the show’s element of improvisation is a happy fellow to the script.
But this piece will really fly with one more notch up in vocal and physical tightness and consistency.
There are lots of fine separate ingredients here – the music, the character acting, the verbal and physical comedy, the banter, the interaction and the wordplay. These are strong performers and at times A Dirty Martini really takes flight and the audience responds in kind with warm applause and laughter. At other times the synergy seems lacking that could and should make this outstanding – a more accessible dramatic structure through the whole piece, and tighter design. It brims with ideas but the whole isn’t greater than the sum of all the impressive parts. And that leads to more polite, muted applause and less engagement with the interactive elements than there could be.
This is very watchable and enjoyable theatre and I think it’s on the road to somewhere exceptional. But still on the road it is. As it is though, it’s very good.