Review, Cul-De-Sac, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh Fringe

Monday 15 August 2011

Nothing to do with Roman Polanski’s film of the same name, but plucked by the Whingers from the telephone directory-sized Fringe brochure just because we felt it sounded “very us”.

Billed as “this brilliant spin on Stepford Wives is an irresistibly twisted tale of ordinary men, women, and their dogs”, happily Matthew Osborn’s Cul-De-Sac proved to be thus.

The less you know about the goings on in this “dark, tweeting suburban underworld” the more you’ll enjoy it. Without giving too much away it involves trimmed hedges, garden gnomes, barbecues, an ear infection, a very sinister neighbour and a dead dog (cue “Ahhhhs” from some of the audience). Imagine what might have happened if Terry and June had grown up in Psychoville.

The cast, Alan Francis, Toby Longworth and Mike Hayley are all excellent. Mr Hayley, who is taking time out from the terrific Journey’s End at The Duke of York’s Theatre to appear gives a brilliantly convincing, understated performance.

But most importantly there’s plenty of laughs and provided probably the funniest (and surreal) line we’ve heard on the Fringe so far. Out of context it wouldn’t make much sense and we would hate to spoil it anyway.

This is apparently the first play to emerge from the Comedians Theatre Company new writing project Itch: A Scratch Event. We will be watching their progress keenly.

We predict this may turn up at the Soho Theatre. Look out for it.

Right up the Whingers’ own peculiarly twisted cul-de-sacs.

Rating

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