Edinburgh Fringe 2022
Liz Cotton writes songs with a liberal sprinkling of filth. An empty nester with a husband, cat and a healthy (?) obsession to Bridgerton, she lives in a beautiful Cambridgeshire village about to be rocked by poo. As she counts her blessings, briefly, before lockdown begins, she finds herself addressing the gaps in her life, her wish to dump hubby and sell the house. By the end she has organised, fantasised, and politicised and found more blessings than she realised she could count.
I thought I knew what I was coming to when I booked in. Judging by the crowd it attracted, I was beginning to doubt myself. I needn’t have worried. This was one of those fortunate happen chances where I had time and wished to fill it, found an intriguing show and thought I might see it. I then rocked up to people arriving, of American accents and middle class sensibilities. Could this actually be a show about sewage plants?
Once I was seated in came Liz. Her story starting from August 2019, her last appearance at the Fringe, in this very room, to date was an innovative look at lockdown. Instead of the usual navel discovery of fluff and illness we got a wonderfully light yet serious tale of a woman who wanted to leave a village, and her husband and settle elsewhere. Feeling she had settled for second best she wanted new adventures and excitement. And she got it. At home.
Whilst her cat, Purdy watched in confusion as Amazon delivered parcels and then a man from Savilles arrived to measure up the house for sale, Liz came to realise that her home, her precious, green and pleasant home, was under threat from Anglia Water and their stink. Because the postman sent the brochure and announcement through her letterbox just as she was ready to market the house – which husband Phil knew nothing about.
As she discovered, Anglia Water’s decision to relocate their water treatment works from Cambridge to Honey Hills was a stench without a reason. Gathering herself ready for the fight she took the singing abilities and her song writing capabilities and offered them to the neighbours she never knew. They embraced her and she embraced the fight. And now she is a NIMBY warrior.
Her show follows this with a wonderful array of video and photographs which build upon the set ups – we get the dirty songs. And they are pretty good – rhyming the Prime Minister of August 2022, with a part of the intimate female anatomy is pretty damn impressive.
It raises this show from a comic sing song to one of real merit. Whilst I would have spent all night listening to each and every song she had to give and asked for more, the fact she now had a cause was the layer that allowed us all to engage more fully.
Theatre arts were well done – the final video of the choir had us all singing the Crap Song she wrote in protest for her village Community Choir to sing. I didn’t leave singing it to myself on the way home, but I am off now to click on the website and pledge support. Now, isn’t that the point of theatre?