Edinburgh Fringe 2019
“A show for anyone with a complex relationship to home. Ryan Lane’s playful, inventive and intimate storytelling piece explores coming out, leaving Wales and then wanting to come home again. Think À Bout de Souffle in Aberystwyth meets This Country and Clueless.”
Ryan Lane’s show is full of characters from his life and those that inspired his vivid imagination. From Llanidloes, a small town in Wales, affectionately know as Lanny by the inhabitants, he talks about – no he actually becomes Rhiannon, a major player in Welsh mythology and makes a proclamation at the start of the show. This sounds like a traditional way to start a not so traditional storytelling show, but this is Ryan Lane’s version of comedy theatre, which is quite deliciously bonkers!
Ryan changes costume a lot and he puts on items like a large red and green hand knitted jumper, a beige sleeveless top, or a white pinny and transforms into others with carefully observed dialogue spoken to the audience and giant leaps here and there. He is a gloriously spontaneous performer and gives 100%, although there are also fascinating quaint characters who are less boisterous, charming and always authentic.
We meet several of them, including Martin from an organic bookshop, a sports coach – and we hear about Ryan’s thing for pop culture – it is a large part of his 30 something life starting when he was very young.
Music, catchy songs and sounds are played at certain times and add to the zany humour of the show. While a good time is had by all during the show, there are sensitive topics built in to the characters and their reactions that are provocative and reflect experiences common to many. In a longer monologue from Granddad, about Elton John getting married, he manages to give mixed messages to a younger Ryan and possible inner conflict about coming out, which is a poignant moment.
Lane uses physical comedy very well, his facial expressions are real and very effective. He lowers his face and looks at someone with a beady eye, or stands looking at us with his lips tight, and bulging eyes, noticeably stifling frustration – in a John Cleese sort of way!
In his show, Lane is playing at dress up and we are with him, happily enjoying his playful personality while his point of view and quick wit are deliberate. He shares his secrets, about his favourite things, people who influenced him and amongst the zaniness, he is a sensitive individual with a meaningful subtext.
His show will entertain, surprise and give an opportunity to experience these characters from his home town, to laugh and maybe even, reflect. He’s out there and needs to be seen!