Fringe Online 2021
Ally Sloper is presented as a magazine proprietor and social climber onstage, talking to his audience whilst awaiting the arrival of Queen Victoria. She is visiting him at work though he is making quite a meal of getting prepared for her. In the meantime, he is explaining to us the point of the visit in a short monologue which is told front curtain.
Blue Fire have built a reputation in managing to bring to life the personalities from the past and this is yet another example of their celebrated bygone age. We have a character from the past who, could have managed a newspaper as much in recent times as in history, such is his arcane fancies still a norm! Of course he was the titular character of a real magazine, the first cartoon and to whom and which we owe such a lot.
Our host and purveyor of all things half holiday is Steve Taylor who gives the tics and gestures a tremendous outlet with the delivery and the purpose which may be more old school than Avant Garde but it is all the more charming for it.
There is no huge political statement to be made or a massive impact because it tells you a truth, but it has a charm and entertains. Part of that is due to the historical nature of the piece – the performance sits in the musical hall tradition, front cloth and direct delivery. There is a smattering of the rogue and the confidant which is brought to us in a well directed piece of work. The script has some laughs – I could have done without the canned laughter – but it also draws you across the footlights and offers a great big smacker.
By the time he was off to answer Matilda’s call, the set, the venue and the packaging was exactly what was needed to remind us all of the greats and the shoulders upon which so many of us seek to stand, curtsey or bow – and Ally can teach you that an all…