[Yes, Edinburgh is over but we’re all behind so just pretend.]
It is an all too too easy task to mess with the Whingers’ minds.
A stranger had managed it successfully only the night before when, much to Andrew’s amusement, he genuinely mistook Phil for Gok Wan. Which means Phil has been swiftly downgraded from being a Michael Grandage doppelgänger. Edinburgh just gets curiouser and curiouser.
But that particular head-f*** is nothing compared with those created in Somewhere Beneath It All, A Small Fire Burns Still.
Dave Florez’s extraordinary piece is almost impossible to talk about without destroying its peculiar pleasures for those yet to see it. Anyone who reveals its conceits should be ceremoniously drummed out of town.
We can say it is a monologue, that it is performed by the stand up comedian/writer/musician/singer-songwriter (phew!) Phil Nichol and that it is deftly directed by Hannah Eidinow.
We can also say that the Whingers were completely split on the central section of the play which pulls the rug out from under the audience, throws them in the air, spins them around, then dumps them unceremoniously back in their seats feeling completely unsettled. Whilst both agreed to being astonished by it, Andrew was agin it, leaving Phil to see it as very up the Whingers alley with its daringly original and intriguing premise. About this we can say little more.
It would be understating things to say that Canadian Nichol’s performance as the obsessive fantasist Kevin, who sits in his regular cafe trying to ignite a relationship with a Lithuanian waitress Daina, is something of a tour de force.
Phil thought that on occasions (especially in profile) Nichol resembled Mel Gibson which, if we were able to reveal more, might seem oddly appropriate.
Hilarious, shocking, repulsive, creepy and compelling by turns it would be a equally shocking if SBIA,ASFBS were not to have a life beyond the Fringe. It won a “Fringe First”, whatever that is.
Our only quibble is the impossible-to-recall title. Struggling to remember it, it has gone through various accidental transmogrifications in our attempts to recommend the piece, including the appropriately Whingerish Somewhere Beneath The Still, A Small Fire Burns.
Rating Yes, we’re afraid we have to go with another…