Writer/Performer: Freddie Hayes
Director: Sh!t Theatre
Reviewer: Simon Topping
The winner of the inaugural Brighton Fringe Luke Rollason Memorial Bursary, delights the crowd with her fabulously haywire debut solo show.
Loosely adapted from Doctor Faustus and the seven deadly sins, this production sees Charlotte, a humble spud who’s down on her luck and ready to give up, make a pact with an emissary of the Devil (the potato Maurice Piper) in order to make her famous. She wants to be “On the Telly”. What tricks will Satan play on her? As the night goes on we find out, with hilarious results.
The show combines puppetry, video, singing, crowd interaction and a strong sense of the surreal. It’s a joyful piece well performed. Freddie Hayes is very engaging to watch. She delights in the appalling potato puns at the start of the show and the strength of her performance is the key to why the show is received with so much enthusiasm. She is a warm, funny and delightfully silly protagonist who, if anything, becomes more daft as the night goes on.
Potatohead makes her bargain with the devil. She is given a face and the night before she is going to be made famous she decides to have one night of hedonism, drinking and partying.
At a nightclub (a wonderfully created suitcase club designed for her puppets) the audience are introduced to the seven deadly potato sins. This is an extremely funny part of the show which is both displayed on video and mirrored with live puppetry. Each sin has its own character and some interact with the crowd with funny consequences.
The section concludes with a graphic sex scene between Lust and Elvis Presley potato which is blurred out on the big screen, to great comic effect, and enters the audience in its live interpretation. This is met with shrieks of laughter in the Bosco and is reminiscent of and as funny as, the puppetry sex scene in film Team America: World Police.
There are a couple of sections where Hayes breaks the fourth wall and talks about the co-dependent relationship she has with her puppets. These snippets offer nice insights into the performers world and it would have been good to see these develop more throughout the piece.
Hayes is at her best when she “Goes Big”; she is fabulous as a doolally version of Gary Lineaker and her back and forth with audience members is fabulous to watch.
“What has this all been about?” She asks us at the end. I’m sure most of us don’t really know, but we’ve had lots of fun.
“I guess the message is be brave and go for it.” She concludes. Hayes bravery should be well rewarded as this is a piece full of silliness, heart and soul, which lands well with this receptive crowd.
Reviewed On 26th May. Runs to 29th May.