Edinburgh Fringe 2013
FM and AM are like ships in the night. Operating on different frequencies, they are destined never to meet. Or are they?
We’re on the inside of one of those old radio/amp/tape deck stacks so beloved of stereo buffs of yesteryear. FM has taken quite a fancy to AM but the laws of physics and FM’s bashful nature puts the odds on love remaining unrequited. Especially when you factor in the sinister, scheming Deck, who has his own plans for the beauty in the box.
But love is a powerful draw. FM and AM spend the few moments when they are not “on air” to their listening public whispering breathless nothings to each other within the confines of their little box, all the time dealing with Deck trying to thwart their plans. And what is essentially a simple plot line is nicely stretched out through a series of diversionary “radio” interludes including one very clever sketch about commuters boarding the 8.04am Reading to Paddington service, described using a horse race style commentary. A great way for FM and Deck to demonstrate real skill in the art of speaking clearly and coherently at about 200 words per minute.
Are You Sitting Comfortably makes no pretence at being anything other than an amusing and very sweetly written bit of fun, full of surreal moments and absurdist humour. The acting wrings just about everything possible from a script that has been tightly written and, at forty minutes, gets the point across without dragging on for the sake of it. Less is so often more.
FM is believably nervy when conversing with his lady love, and AM is suitably enchanting and girly in response. Both actors switch effortlessly between their staccato pursuit of love and their day job of “entertaining” their increasingly bewildered listener (a nice vignette of a part which was nicely understated) as he flips frequencies in search of something sensible. But these performances, whilst admirable, are trumped by the superbly versatile Deck whose camp, commedia dell’arte style is perfectly matched by his tape bedecked mauve outfit. Wild, extravagant, flamboyant and with a range of accents from far and wide, Deck rather stole the show. But did he get the girl? Now that would be telling.