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Edinburgh Fringe 2015

Wendy Hoose

Birds of Paradise and Random Accomplice

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Theatre

Venue: Assembly Rooms


Low Down

She needs, and he is there to provide. In a bristling 21st Century comedy we have a story of our times as Jake arrives to have sex with Laura thanks to a web based sex site. Unfortunately for the eager Jake, Laura wants a bit of chat first before he gets down to the action; unfortunately he finds a couple of things missing that spoil the mood for him. From there we get a run through all the things that we shouldn’t say, ought not think but blurt out anyway as Jake tries to be PC and ends up gaining a little bit of respect from Laura … a little bit … allegedly …


From the audio descriptor to the Sign Language Interpreter on the TV, this is a fantastic, excellent and superlative filled comedy where all of your prejudices are examined, pushed and then laughed at. Jake has arrived to have sex. Laura is a 21st Century girl with needs and a drawer to meet them. Once the revelation occurs the squirming and apologetic egg shell splitting performance between the two actors – Amy Conachan and James Young – is as squirmingly wonderful as it ought to be. With the third character – the audio describer – pitching in with her commentary this is how you should do inclusiveness in the theatre.

Writer Johnny McKnight has provided us with a faultless script, co directing with Robert Softley Gale we get an amazing journey into desire for women as well as sex for the disabled single parent. It is crisp and sparkling wit, well directed with every ounce of comedy brought by our actors with mostly well timed wit and repartee.

My criticisms are minor as the opening had some projected commentary that I could not easily read. There were also a couple of exchanges between Conachan and Young that dipped. But these were but minor gripes in a cracking hours’ worth of banter.

Birds of Paradise and Random Accomplice know that they have a hit on their hands and Wendy Hoose is commended as part of the curated Made in Scotland programme for the Fringe. It is one of the funniest afternoons I have spent in a theatre for some time. What was even more impressive was the way that accessibility was not only part of the performance but also central to it all. Using a mixed cast is a start, to include the Sign Language Interpreter is becoming more and more integrated but to then throw in an audio describer with abundant wit and scorn as well as surtitles takes us into new territory. What it should not be is testament to the work still to be done, but it is. That this is done with such charm and humour means we should see this type of integration far more often because it is a creative method of making our theatres far more relevant to today.