Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

Matt and Ollie...are Dads!: Fringe Reviewers Compilation

Wales at Edinburgh Fringe

Group of Mice Theatre , Underbelly, Bristo Square, Edinburgh , August 25, 2018
Wales at Edinburgh Fringe by Group of Mice Theatre Stand-ups sometimes aspire to make the jump into theatre. Ben Elton has done it. The box office was good even if the reviews were savage. But the success rate is not high, Richard Bean the most notable exception. Tom Basden wrote a play for the Fringe with a cast that included Anna Crilly and Jonny Sweet. It made it to radio but did not take off as a theatre piece. It was made of bits.

There is a deficit of theatre comedy in Wales- see “the Dip” 23rd. Royalties flow to Ayckbourn and this autumn to Richard Bean. They deserve it because both are craftsmen. But it is a pity that the funny women and men of Wales are not bigger in theatre. The Fringe 2018 is host to a brace of stand-ups: Frank Foucault, Steffan Alun, Bennett Aron, Ignacio Lopez, Jenny Collier, Jack Evans, Markus Birdman. Gareth John Bale is in Edinburgh as director of “Benny.” He has 50 shows in mind, he says in a video, and they include Robin Morgan and Tudor Owen.

Meanwhile Hijinx has been delighting its audiences. I chose the third row for “the Flop” so as to have sight of others. Those in front of me were transported in enjoyment. There is a new name as a company which is doing well. Group of Mice has small information in the public domain. Sarah Thomas is director, designer, stage manager. Matt Zeqiri and Oliver Neck are the actors.

Young Perspective August 8th:

“Matt and Ollie are… Dads!” is a hilarious romp through the family tree of a “cursed dynasty”, examining the fathers and sons whose flaws and foibles are exposed to the audience.

This concept is taken to its logical extremes and beyond by Matt Zeqiri and Oliver Neck, from a man addicted to party horns to a Viennese aristocrat with enormous buttocks. The ludicrous concepts are matched with excellent performances from Matt and Ollie, and the widely varied scenes are brought to life expertly by director and designer Sarah Thomas, who also acts as stage hand during the show.

“...The two players have worked with each other extensively before and this is evident in the way they bounce off each other so easily. While this is great in scripted sections, it is even better during their improvised lines, which came frequently, with both men playing around the imperfect nature of the technical elements underneath McEwan Hall. Watching them make each other corpse in this way was a joy, as the intimate space of Friesian allowed the audience to feel like they were a part of the joke.”

The Wee Review 17th August saw comedy with a heart that matters:

“Matt and Ollie Are… Dads!” is a heartwarming show that is surprisingly poignant in between the laughs, exploring the harmful cycle of toxic masculinity and bad communication that’s passed down through the generations without being too on the nose. And what’s more, it’s got genuine comedic insight into the relationship many of us share with our dads –even if it gets too close to the bone sometimes.”

The List 21st August:

“This is the third play from Of Mice Theatre, and when it works it's very funny. Matt Zeqiri, Oliver Neck and their designer Sarah Thomas craft some strange comic scenarios, worlds that recall – in places – the early Mighty Boosh material or a slightly tamer take on Reeves and Mortimer's surrealism. Their sketches explore the generations that follow the Cossack's deal with the best bits involving strange costumes as a grandfather is transformed into some furniture. It's a playful show from a talented company (Zeqiri is brilliant in all of his scenes) which explores one of the most emotionally complex of relationships.”

The reviews can be read in full at:

Reviewed by: Adam Somerset

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