Edinburgh Fringe 2023
A delightfully entertaining hour showing us that although it might not be easy being green, it can be a hell of a lot of fun – as long as you bring your own tap shoes.
The posters advertising the show feature the star himself: an adorable cute little pot plant named Potty. They also sport the tag line ‘A New Dark Comedy Musical’ and you get Audrey II vibes. Is adorable cute little Potty related to the flytrap-like evil plant in Little Shop of Horrors? Spoiler Alert: no. Potty is the hero of the show, the hero who ditched a cape for two leaves. The best way to describe what Potty looks like is to compare him to a budding Amaryllis which gives Potty a rather young air.
Potty is a neglected pot plant in Dr Acula’s office at Little Boo Boo’s general hospital. He probably would have long died if it wasn’t for the young cleaning lady Miss Lacey. Miss Lacey is the one who waters Potty and talks to him. She comes from a poor family – there were some bad investments by her father – and she has very little self-respect. Potty is madly in love with his benefactress, but she is indifferent. She has few expectations of happiness for herself and maybe because of that is dating the doctor, a paediatrician, who so shamelessly neglects this adorable cute little plant. Can one trust a man like that? The audience soon finds out.
No hospital would be able to function without the nurses. This hospital has three. There is nurse Dave who is obsessed with his hair colour that isn’t quite what it seems, nurse Steven who is obsessed with artisan sandwiches and takes it way too far and nurse Mel who is obsessed with true crime podcast and of course gets the wrong end of the stick. These three and Potty actually form this hospital’s A-team. They will solve a dark mystery and give Miss Lacey what she, without her knowing, really craves.
This new musical with music by Baden Jack Burns, who also plays Potty, has many upbeat tunes that you gleefully tap along, and not just the tap numbers. It was written by Aeddan Sussex, Baden Jack Burns and Sara Oakland. They also collaborated on the Lyrics. The role of Dr Acula is a gift to Alex Singh who sings his rocky entrance song with much gusto and in stark contrast to the numbers before. He utterly indulges himself to great effect in the double entendre song Ask Her Good, which is just hilarious. His character is so camp, you wonder why he is actually seeing Miss Lacey. We’ll soon find out. Miss Lacey is played by Sarah Oakland, whose voice is a very sweet soprano and works well in her role as the passive ingénue. She is also the producer and worked with Stephanie Cubello (nurse Mel and Associated Producer) on sets and costumes. The set is simple yet very effective. I really liked the clever use of a screen.
The very detailed dance routines, choreographed by Baden Jack Burns, are a joy to watch. Especially the Nurses entrance number Little Boo Boo’s is danced with much skill and coordination by Stephanie Cubello and her fellow nurses Steven, played by Sam Ridley and Dave, played by Zack Burns.
The story itself is very silly and draws on various cultural references to great comic effect. It also uses slapstick for a lot of its comedy. I really enjoyed the celestial violence scene, which is as grotesque as it is hilarious. There are a few jibes at politics without taking sides. Overall a very entertaining show.
The adorable puppet that is Potty was created by Neve Pearce.