FringeReview Scotland 2016
Lucas Petit is the physical equivalent of beige. When God, if he is God, gives him a briefcase he and his wife become obsessed with this precious thing. They try all they can to keep it whilst being trapped in a swift but meandering narrative that sees Lucas try to blow himself up to do God’s bidding.
There are quite easy parallels to be made with the current political setting but there is no desire form this wacky 80 minutes to do anything other than use theatre as entertainment. Lucas Petit is a common place man with a commonly bored wife, and we find that the wife is looking for excitement. In comes God who gives, her husband Lucas, the means to feel extraordinary and off we go! A bet between God and Lucifer is played out in front of us with off colour music and amusement that stretches the melodies as well as our belief systems. In the end Lucas achieves that which he may have thought impossible – a kind of peace.
This is a piece of theatre that delights in being a piece of theatre though the premise gave me much hope, the delivery falls a little short. We are not asked to follow a serious plot line or indulge in any kind of polemic but at its heart it is about how you get people to do your own bidding. It has songs that seem very similar and have a narrative structure to them. It has scenes which are played out with cartoon seriousness and it has a Titan like struggle between good and Evil – what’s not to like?
I did like it but wanted to love it. I wanted more offbeat and less camp. I wanted more exploratory and less surface buffoonery. I wanted more clowning and less commentary. The envelope was open and it needed pushed.
All three actors do go at this with gusto and they bring their own whirlwind nature onstage though if you want to seriously go with that voice – keep with it. By the second half the tempo dropped a little and though there was a desperately disappointing number in the audience they were taken by the whole thing as much as a full house. One of the key strengths was that the actors gave themselves to this piece. The material with which they were presenting might have been less than the sum of their parts but they had the measure of it. Alasdair Hankinson, Ashley Smith and Darren Brownlie have plenty more in their locker.
The costumes and the set were great. I loved the costumes and the way in which the set was taken apart in order to tell the story but ended up being the skeleton on which was hung the ending. It lifted this from the realms of the wacky to close to being inspired.
I wish the script and songs had lived up to this and whilst I liked the overall impression gained by it, I just wanted so much more to be out there. Once you have made that leap into the unknown sometimes you should also ditch your parachute. It is however a very decent piece of theatre that sparked enough dialogue on the way home that I hope it gets the type of audience, if not the type of debate, it deserves.