Edinburgh Fringe 2012
I love darts; I am a democrat. This was an exceptional piece of theatre that guided you through the thoughts of a plethora of achievers whilst holding your attention fixed and transfixed from the oche to the World record Triple Jump.
I have seen quite a few one man shows this year. It may be the financial theatrical climate and an attempt to try and cut costs but they can be quite tricky. Firstly the script needs to be able to be taught and perhaps even quirky enough to meander without ever losing the plot. This one achieves this very well. I was caught up with it. At times full of pathos and comic timing it also gave the performer the opportunity to breathe an expand with his own creativity. It was loose and fast acting whilst being dramatic enough to convince us it had a serious point.
The key trick in a one man show is … the one man. Alex Elliot has managed to achieve the hardest of all things; being a salesman and likeable all at the same time. I was perhaps already in the right place because the stories from the darts world was something with which I was already all too familiar. I would spend Christmas watching the World Championship and remember well Jocky Wilson and his apparent demise. The story of the teeth, Bristow’s dartitis and the rise of the Great White Shark, Phil “The Power” Taylor are well worn paths for me. The placing them alongside the making of darts, the opportunity to get gasps and awes from people as we saw what was written on them, the dart throwing spectacle that included Tony. If Tony was not a ringer he should be. Overly enthusiastic and over the top in equal measure, Tony threw darts, encouraged the crowd and gave us the approval to join in. It appeared he did not need such approval himself. The areas where I was not too sure about the performance came with the saxophone interlude and the dad dancing…. The saxophone seemed incongruous and I was not sure of the point whilst the dad dancing was fine… for a while… Tony’s encouragement kept it going for a wee bit too long. Without Tony I would worry it looked like… dad dancing… Superior dad dancing though it might be.
This is a production that has huge values and the piece of fruit I was given at the beginning of the show with an inscription evidence of thinking beyond the end of the stage. It was a great set and one that with the use of live video feed certainly helped zip the production along.
As a performance piece this is simply one of the best that I have seen. With some minor changes that didn’t sit well with me I can see this getting better than great reviews. I may actually just be being picky but the fact that I came away from this with a spring in my step and reliving the darts magic moments of Lowe, Bristow and Wilson alongside the Barney v Taylor fights of the recent past is testimony that it made me think. And not just about darts. The behaviour of one Kenny Logan – the Irish singer and not our Rugby player – has been retold on ore than one occasion to prove that some may achieve greatness etc…