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You Couldn't Make It Up
Verdict: Powerful exposure of insincerity and truth
Edinburgh - Gilded Balloon - August 02
Here's a diamond of a play: sparkling in every facet - and harder than stone.
Philip's kicking against the pricks (tv producers) to create a
truthful account of homosexuality today, but all they want is
jolly gays - personified by cartoon character Robot Hard-On From
The Planet Spunk. Meanwhile, Max is dying (with witty one-liners)
Cue the boys in the band, and a girl. Kevin's displaced at
auditions by old school-mate and very pretty boy John who surges
to boy-band stardom. John, Bobby and Hal were all at
school together with Kevin, and boy, they're ruggedly heterosexual -
John's got stunning girlfriend Angel as the living proof.
Kevin's a reluctant rent boy. Or so it seems. This is the starting
point of an astoundingly powerful piece of writing, vividly brought
to life by faultless performances.
The endearing older characters, Philip and Max - and their
truthfulness - form the backbone, contrast, and enclosure
to the story of the younger ones. Kevin has an appalling
secret, kept by the other lads and exploded with devastating
effect following what must be the unwisest school reunion in history.
Will Philip find the guts to tell Kevin's story for the screen - and
the ability to touch? What's the revelatory power of a good woman's love?
You Couldn't Make It Up starts like a set of sketches, and grabs
immediate attention. In minutes, it locks fast into a story that's
so tightly woven you daren't look away for a moment. Using movie editing
techniques - wipes and cuts for scene changes, fast intercutting of
scenes, synchronised sound-track - it belts along, building progressively
to its satisfying and remarkable climax.
Andy Killick plays Max with consistent and moving hilarity;
Adam Redmayne gives a charming and sensitive rendering of Philip's
dogged struggle; Susannah Saary brings strength, beauty, and tenderness to
the pivotal character of Angel; Robert Sutton's splendily demonic,
weaselly and spineless as Bobby; Theo Van Dort manipulates with eye-catching
sincerity as the single-me-minded John; David Paul West focuses attention
as he reveals every side of Kevin's hugely complex, decent, and heroic
character; Alex Woodhall plays Errol to perfection, and
his Robot Hard-On From Spunk stands a dangerous chance of real-life tv fame.
Steven Worbey repels splendidly as the repulsive Hal, and also plays the
enigmatic Client. Other characters are played by the cast.
Director - Patrick Wilde; Designer - Tracy Waller; Production
Manager - Amanda Hughes; Production Assistant - Anders Persson;
Lighting Designer - James Hamilton; Photography / Poster Design -
Lee Hacker; Original Music and Lyrics - Julian and Stephen Butler;
Marketing / Poster Design - Pete Shaw; Press Officer - Luke Healy;
Choreography and Fight Arrangement - Alex Woodhall.
Company Credits - World Premiere of 'You Couldn't Make It Up' -
Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh, Scotland - 4 August 2002.
Dedication: to Ralph LaCock (1954-2002). Produced by -
The Wild Justice Company.
reviewed Friday 16 August 02 / Gilded Balloon
Fringe Report (c) Fringe Report 2002-2013