Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

Audience Verdict: “Brilliant. Funny, Philosophical, Personal”

Wales at Edinburgh Fringe

Adrift- Clock Tower Theatre Co , Venue 13 , August-16-19
Wales at Edinburgh Fringe by Adrift- Clock Tower Theatre Co Geoffrey West, a theoretical physicist, wrote a book in 2017 titled “Scale.” Its subject was just that, how scale related to form and function. Cities across the globe are statistically the same; the greater their size the greater the wages they offer. But there is also optimal scale. Godzilla, West works out, would require about 25 tons of food daily by way of calorie requirement at a normal metabolic rate.

The Fringe is a monster. There were 2542 events in 2011, as my report below recorded. In 2019 there are 3841. 300 shows are visiting from the USA and 136 from Australia, the collapsing value of the pound of great benefit to our visitors. Maybe this is all to the good. They are in a city of grandeur on a world scale and everyone, performer and audience alike, is having fun.

There are downsides, the supply of housing on a year-round basis tilted by the gold to be mined over the course of a few weeks. The shows themselves bifurcate, big money backing some, while the costs for the young, the first-timers, the students, the self-funders inexorably climb.

In this new-shaped Fringe it was pretty well sure that critics would not get to “Adrift.” I was at their venue twice in 2010. I wrote then “Venue 13 is an under-known gem of a venue. Not only does it have a garden but it has decent sight-lines and ventilation. However, its location suffers from being a six-minute walk from the main circuit of tramping feet. The Pleasance, not that far away, seethes with crowds enough to belie its name. Venue 13 is by contrast a little island of tranquillity.”

So, if none of the Scottish publications got that far down the Royal Mile, Clock Tower Theatre received what really mattered, acclamation from those who saw “Adrift.” Some took the trouble to leave their record on the Fringe site.

“So so so much fun. Hilarious from start to finish with excellent performances from all involved. Impeccable comic timing and physical comedy. Must see.”

“One of my favourite shows of the Fringe! Very clever, funny and poignant. Highly recommended..”

“What a brilliant show - very deft three-hander with polished and tight performances from all involved. Some lovely comedy, along with very well-choreographed physical theatre... would highly recommend this gem!”

“Really really brilliant. Funny, philosophical, personal, well done. Three men in a boat, not discussing who should be eaten first but discussing everything else!”

“Adrift” feels like it is the original spirit of the Fringe. If Scotland's writers did not get to see it a publication of Wales was able to write about “Adrift.” Nation Cymru ran a good 943-word feature on 10th August.

From the feature:

Writer George Infini: “We asked the audience to suggest endings and put their ideas in a suggestions box,. I picked the suggestion that made me laugh the most and just went for it!.”

Infini on comedy: “It’s the riskiest and most rewarding medium in which to write....You know instantly whether you’ve done your job right because of the laughter – or lack of it.”

Producer Steve Bennett: “The things that suck are the expenses; it is still very exclusive financially for people who don’t want to take the risk...The great thing is the exposure; you’re seen on a world scene, we’re so lucky to have the largest fringe theatre festival in the world practically on our doorstep!”

Critic Emily Garside: “Despite being structured as a series of comedy vignettes, or sketches, there is an underlying poignancy to Infini’s writing. And one that comes from both the strength of the actors as well as his writing.

“The cast of three truly elevates the piece. Sam Harding has a gift of drawing a laugh with a look. Even in the background, his reactions are priceless comedy gold. And he makes the best use of a Gloucester accent in theatre this year.

“Beaumont has the less broadly comedic role but does much with his character- the Doctor is mildly infuriated and eternally exasperated. Alongside them, Cawley as the son-of-an-Admiral Captain, wouldn’t be out of place in any Period Drama. He embodies the posh-but-dim aristocracy of his character while being utterly charming and endearing. It’s a tough ask to give his character a likeability alongside the comedy but Cawley manages it with a seemingly effortless charm.

“The key however to the entire piece is the ensemble – and the way the three bounce off one another is what lifts the piece – and gets the big laughs. And as much as the short running time is perfect for this show and the Fringe, it feels too short a time to spend with these characters...The best laughs are the unexpected ones, and Infini has a gift for writing the most ludicrous line possible in a situation and crafting a laugh. He is abetted by a cast of actors who have a knack for comic timing.”
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Full coverage at

https://nation.cymru/culture/review-adrift-shows-you-can-have-a-lot-of-fun-on-a-raft-with-a-peg/

Audience feedback taken, with thanks, from

https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/adrift

Reviewed by: Adam Somerset

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