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Thea-Skot's Miss Adventures: Fringe 2012

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Alex Mason

The lights dim, and a woman of indeterminable age strolls out and addresses the crowd. She looks pretty normal. Looks can be deceptive, for Alison Thea-Skot is wildly energetic, which is doublespeak for batshit crazy.

The show less oozes originality as repeatedly punches you in the face with it. Characters ranging from a petrified dog trainer to a terrifying vocal coach, dabbing more than a toe in surrealism.

Most of the audience were baffled by her solemn ex-lover's tribute to a dragon, set to the noughties rap classic Still D.R.E, but comic genius is often unappreciated until years after the fact. There's a surprisingly thin line between genius and an on-stage cry for help, with Britain's No1 vocal coach, Tiff Mason, blurring that line.

Thea-Skot has a surprisingly impressive acting range, and she has a knack for selling her characters. Coupled with outstanding quick-change costume work it all makes for a compelling show. She'd put just about anyone to shame at a fancy dress party, and I suspect if comedy doesn't work out she's got career options in the make-up industry.

Immersion is one thing, but it's only desirable if the characters are funny. Several weren't, or simply lacked the jokes. Long segments are a dangerous game, as a character or premise failing the impress means an awkward wait for the next one. The risk-taking didn't pay off on several occasions which marred the experience.

You could be forgiven for mistaking the whole affair as bubbly character comedy, but there's definitely a sadistic streak lurking beneath the surface. At one point I was called up to the stage and forced to kneel as part of a children's adventure store/blind date mashup. As the show progressed I realised I'd gotten off easy.

In this early show, cues were missed, chairs were felled, laughs were lost. But she's got balls, and dropping a couple of the weaker characters (I'm looking at you javelin-wielding acupuncturist) would make this something special.

Alison Thea-Skot is zany, erratic, possibly schizophrenic, but definitely a great performer. Much more funny than not, but blemished by some inadvisable character choices.

Review date: 5 Aug 2012
Reviewed by: Alex Mason
Reviewed at: Just The Tonic at The Caves

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