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Chipping Stortford Goes Large: The Bid For City Status

Chipping Stortford Goes Large: The Bid For City Status

Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2006

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Original Review:

Chipping Stortford is, supposedly, seeking city status and this show is a presentation of the joys of the village by the committee charged with promoting the idea.

Chipping Stortford is a fresh-faced and clean version of the League of Gentlemen's Royston Vasey, a world of refreshing, gentle English whimsy (although one of the cast is Celtic), which Pam Ayres might inhabit.

A lot of work has gone into the script, production and promotion, which included an eight-page newspaper selling the joys of the village, and a website. It is impossible to dislike anything about the idea, the cast or the show, it just needs a bit of editing (most items could be cut by quarter to a third) and some more committed acting.

It possibly also needs a reason to exist. It's comedy with no real aim, which means there's been a lot of hard work to get just an amiable audience shrug.

There is nothing wrong with the well-detailed script. I enjoyed the idea that the knock-knock joke and pop-up books originated in Chipping Stortford and that its one department store contained the only spiritually possessed escalator in the world. One question on the local pub's quiz machine asks if ten squirrels could beat a Rottweiler in a fight. Nice detail.

But the show is commendably workmanlike rather than inspired and this may be a result of the performances, rather than the script.

John Fleming



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