Edinburgh Fringe 2009
Venue: Sweet Venues
Festival: Edinburgh Fringe
Two friends on the opposite sides of the earth, one date they pledge to remember: the 21st September. The date that every year, they meet and share tales of their experiences, their trials and tribulations, the people and places they’ve seen. Awoken from a drunken slumber by a telegram, Elijah realises he has but a week to reach London to meet Nathaniel who, at the same time, is also prompted to remember their meeting. With time ticking, will the duo make it to the Lovely Coffee Shop in time? A silly, farcical tale that transports its audience through a number of brilliantly imaginative situations and introduces them to some truly special characters…
We meet the worldly Elijah on entering the venue, passed out on a chair. An original start, for sure. Although at rest when we first meet him, Elijah is full of energy and sparkle throughout the play as are, in fact, all of the cast: their energy and enthusiasm exudes from the stage. The ensemble are, also, a true triumph and a brilliant addition to the play, bringing in a majority of the laughs and cascading through an almost ridiculous number of characters – aided by a frankly impressive array of hats. As a threesome, they work together brilliantly and the physicality they apply to different scenes gives the piece edge. The narrator has quite a large part in the proceedings of the play, “getting involved” in some of the increasingly ridiculous situations the duo find themselves in and, with the narrator taken ill, the writer of the script takes the stage and actually pulls it off very nicely.
The play, with time a-ticking, rumbles through country after country, indicated to the audience by small pieces of map, bought on and displayed by the endearing ensemble. This is both highly original and a nice touch. In fact, there are several moments throughout the wittily sculpted script that shows it has been crafted by someone with an avid imagination and a distinctly theatrical eye. It’s fun and defiantly inventive.
The play, on the whole demands not to be taken too seriously. It is slapstick in it’s nature and truly silly: in some places, I think it is fair to say, it’s a little too silly and its edgy wit or farcical appearance descends into something closer to child’s play. Overall, however, the piece brought to life by it’s energetic young cast has it’s audience engaged, is smiley and upbeat.
This play is never going to win awards for being a poignant or inventive piece of theatrical brilliance, but neither does it pretend it is going to be. Comedic, light and fun, it is a pleasant and enjoyable way to spend an afternoon, lost in the madness of these loveable characters’ adventures.