Edinburgh Fringe 2014
Art of Falling Apart, The
Big Wow, Richard Jordan Productions, Unity in association with Pleasance
Venue: Pleasance 2
"‘There’s two kinds of people Callum. There’s you. And there’s everyone else’. Callum realises modern life is rubbish and walks out on his, but to who knows where? Stage Best Ensemble and Total Theatre nominees Big Wow (Insomnobabble) return with a new, ferociously-paced magical piece of theatre. Extremely funny, maybe even a little bit profound. Scripted and directed by Robert Farquhar (Gods Official, Bad Jazz, Kissing Sid James). Performed by Matt Rutter and Tim Lynskey."
Callum is having a mid(ish) life crisis. Fed up with his entirely adequate existence he checkouts out for a time, departing on a journey of self discovery. Encountering characters weird and wonderful, Callum is forced by increasingly bizarre circumstances to face his problems square in the ketamine-fuelled face.
Malaise is a risky topic whether you’re speaking from the Carter White House or Pleasance 2. The lyrics of Road to Nowhere sets a stage bare of props save 2 non-descript chairs. Into the emptiness explodes Tim Lynskey. His opening monologue is a frenetic, frenzied diatribe against the bankruptcy of our “post ideas society.” It’s passionate, comic, ludicrous, a genuine ice breaker. Lynskey bounces off the walls, unflagged by a script arrangement more hesitant than him.
He’s non-stop, leaping from character to character like a one man Goon Show tribute featuring diverse personas from overly-familiar phone centre guy; career break gap yah guy; Yankee motivationalist. I’d started to imagined I was watching a vehicle for a solo talent supported by a likeably non-descript straight man.
In reality a few script choices (in need of revisiting) mean that the genius of Matt Rutter doesn’t emerge until I’d started to lose hope. An hour and 20 minutes is a bold time grab at Edinburgh. Currently the show seems to sag around the middle, a few audience members splintered off. They’ve got it. What else is there to see? Plenty. This is a show which is on form but has yet to reach peak performance.
The problem with improvised scripting is that the balance can be all off until it’s been workshopped in front of live audiences. The good thing about Edinburgh is that audiences are available. As the balance improves, so will the reach. Rutter charges in, like the cavalry in a Sunday afternoon movie. Watching the interplay of these these two Fringe veterans is enthralling and exciting, even to minds as jaded as Callum’s.
This is a show reliant on lighting and sound cue clues. A missed rattle-rattle of a passing train requires catch-up to realise we’re on a station platform not the top deck of a bus. A comic dance sync movement happens only 2 times out of 3. Otherwise every note and rift is pitch perfect.
A “fucked-up underground version of Abigail’s Party” this satire doesn’t smirk. It’s devilishly dark comedy with edge and style.