Edinburgh Fringe 2019
Anthony has an alter ego which is a Theresa Mayhem drag act. He has entered a national competition which should catapult his career. Anthony lives with Lisa who is majorly supportive. His act shares some of the stage with The Magic Dyke. One night the pressure of getting to a venue to make the next stage of the competition is at stake. Its then that things begin to go wrong. Firstly, his Uber disappears when he goes to get something out Tesco’s. Next a group of lads take exception to his look and assault him. Without the right colour tights and a delay that makes him over an hour late, all appears done. Except it isn’t. What follows is an uncomfortable meeting with stereotypical TV execs and then a fight with Lucy which does not end well. The play ends with him getting into the next stage and Lucy less supportive than ever.
There are elements of this that are quite sublime. The three actors have got this to a highly rehearsed level which has little by way of any stumbles or gaps in which things lag. The pace is relentless and the piece benefits from this. We get little time to contemplate narrative holes in the script and there are a few.
The biggest hole was when now Anthony talks to young Anthony. Whilst the rest of the script, managed to stand up to scrutiny I found parts of this less than the sum of its parts. It seemed to sit a little out of the thrust of the script and I think it could do with being replaced or removed to help the narrative. If Anthony had spoken to Lucy or a complete stranger and then the ending had been the same it would have heightened the shock. Here we get a glimpse of how things have affected him, but it comes across as being too self indulgent and slightly cliched.
Aside from that, the direction is skilled and we get well-worn pathways mined for material. Performances were great when Lucy and the Magic Dyke were his partner but there was a marked dip when the TV executives behaved as TV executives would in a soap opera. It deserved a more nuanced approach.
The theatre arts were all well done and set, props and the suitcase especially were used well to add to the theatricality of the production. I did like when Anthony slept IN his suitcase as well as having lived OUT of it.
I really liked the company and really liked the piece. Sure, there are a few edges that could be better polished but at its heart is a simple story with complex issues, well told.