FestivalsReviewSouth East

BRIGHTON FRINGE: Tropez! – The Warren: Theatre Box

Writers: Nathan & Ida

Reviewer: Simon Topping

In the opening scene, we meet a cat-burglar and a gigolo. Among the glitz and glamour of 1950s French Riviera, both are looking, separately, to pull off the biggest diamond heist in St Tropez’s history. Will one or both succeed? In this hour of engaging and fast-paced comedy the audience will find out if the miss-matched twosome indeed manage to grab the goods and become chums, or if their best-laid plans come to nought.

George (Nathan Grassi) has come to France in the company of a Dorothy, a sweet old lady who wants one last blast, in style. Franky (Ida Berglöw Kenneway) is a misunderstood tomboy, branded a criminal, unfairly, in her past, she is now trying to live up to this reputation. Both are lost souls in need of a friend.

The play is staged simply and well. There are plenty of fast changes and good comedy characters. It is performed in a series of short scenes which fade to black, some poignant, some funny, all well executed by a talented pair of actors.

Grassi is a good physical performer, especially when playing the bright eyed and bushy tailed George. He gives a sharp, mischievous, performance all the way through. Berglöw Kenneway is well matched with Grassi. A talented clown, she uses her movement to good comedy effect; falls, spills and funny faces all amuse. The chemistry between them is nice to watch and the piece is at it’s best when the two move in unison, to the great delight of the room. Their portrayal of bungling gendarme particularly entertains and shows off their buffoonery to great effect.

The story, however, never really gels and you don’t totally become invested in the main protagonists. Several vignettes, including two fishermen trying to outdo each other and flees in a pub, are well produced but move attention from the story and feel out of place. Leading the action towards one theft, instead of several, complicates and convolutes the plot, when it is not needed. If there was a simplification of the story twists you could invest in the characters much more.

Tropez! has a good idea at its core and whilst not fully taking flight, it is its players that make it worth a watch. Both are charismatic clowns; engaging to watch and gloriously silly in places.

Reviewed on 19 May 2019 | Image: Hannah Wilmshurst

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