Writer and Performers: Abigail Dooley and Emma Edwards
Director: Toby Park and Will Kerley
Reviewer: Sophie Huggins
With impressive credits such as Phillippe Gaulier, Peepolykus and Trestle attached to the two performers names, a sense of anticipation arises in the hope of physical engagement, anarchic comedy and clown storytelling, to which both Abigail Dooley and Emma Edwards not only deliver – but delightfully supply more.
A pink tagline on their poster states that this show, by A&E Comedy, is “for anyone who is considering ageing”; like it’s a fad, a pleasurable hobby one should consider partaking in – and boy, do they find the pleasure.
Beginning with a plea to the heavenly Gods to be freed from the perilous ageing process, the audience follows a woman, (not a heroine as that comes with “patriarchal backlog”) through a dramatic quest, on a journey to avoid the inevitable. Known as the protagonist (played by both Edwards and Dooley) she encounters many bizarre stages on her pursuit of the ageing cure from a three-headed fairy godmother to the sea of apology to a personification of the ‘Inner Diva’. Each idea is a credit to the imaginations of Dooley and Edwards as they are dually metaphorically inventive and utterly hilarious – their innovations add to the lengths of their storytelling and some ideas are simply ingenious. There is an expectation for the comedy to be tailored to an older audience, yet surprisingly the duo use inventive, unusual ways to communicate their themes to all ages.
Continuously multi-rolling, the duo effortlessly fly between many hysterical characters, even a couple of Macbeth-like witches who, with the help of a pair of ridiculously long arms, manage to reach into the futures of the audience. Often coming out of character to provide commentary on the action and explain their promoting metaphors allows a constant comical undercurrent of playing at putting on a show. Gaulier’s training evident, both performers joyously play and are excellently responsive to their packed, appreciative audience.
Mixing, the light and the dark, there are moments of seriousness that, although feel odd in the context of the style, do reveal a truth behind the outrageous comedy. Each scene clearly has an identity and although giving the audience a chance to latch onto the conventions can be long-winded, it is necessary and once there, Dooley and Edwards are gripping. With only a little need for clarification and refinement as sometimes the story is clouded with excessive ideas, this is a silly production that engages throughout and is a testament to the pair’s creativity to have such an abundance of magical ideas. “Don’t take yourself too seriously” feels like a perfect summary for this show as this quirky pair certainly don’t, providing an entertaining evening of uplifting fun.
Reviewed on 27 May 2017
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