Bob (the tragic hero time forgot)
The Wee Red Bar
Script: Stagecraft: Performance:
The Fringe is coming. Its just over 4 months until the behemoth comes stalking Edinburgh’s streets, by which time one hopes every production has been refined to perfection. Clearly ahead of the game are Edinburgh University’s Gin & Tonic Productions, who are just about to embark on their first European Tour with their ‘brand new Shakespearean tragi-comedy; BOB – the play that Shakespeare would have written, could have written but never got round to writing.’ Highbrow theatre, definitely not, but a damn good, unpretentious laugh – aye, BOB certainly is that.
Set in Finland & concerning the shenanagins that go on in its corridors of power, Lord Bob is played by the charismatic Rufus McGrath, partnered so cheerfully & adroitly by flame-haired Esmee Cook. With them Ben Horner’s Siegfried is shoutily entertaining alongside his brilliantly droll wife, Sian Davies. Bubbly American Nathaniel Brimmer-Beller is charming as newsman Bill Anchor while George Prove plays a variety of parts, including his wonderful turn as a gay secretary & the scandalously-funnily named ‘Epiphany Wellington Smythe.’ In fact, the entire cast multi-part with seamless electricity, romping through their jaunty journey with a handclappy vivada vis animi.
Bob (the tragic hero time forgot), is a vehicle for G&T’s talented troupe, a sketch show-cum-panto that made me guffaw on a number of occasions. A work in progress it may be, but if these six winged cherubs refine their act they could well be one of the smash-hits of the Fringe. It is theatrical art-nouveau at its finest, a combination of the Scandinavian Saga & the British pantomime, & it works. Any longer than an hour & perhaps it wouldn’t have, but the relentless energy of this daft-yet-classic-tale, complete with its entertaining leibmotifs such as the FUN broadcasts (Finnish Understandable News) & the rhuma-rhumba jams, is a joy to watch. For me, however, the highlight of BOB was its stagecraft – the way the play was brought to life through prop-combos, light-trickery & deft soundtracking was quite stunning.
Reviewer : Damo Bullen