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Ed Eales-White: Fringe 2012

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Julia Chamberlain

Going solo from his usual role with the Clever Peter sketch group, Ed Eales-White has come up with a collection of ironically titled Champions’ in this short show – including Walter the Writer, a pigeon, Graham the ambitious service station attendant and a rather hapless gym bunny.  

These are affectionate characterisations of mainly working class blokes who are utter losers with tortured souls, but still with hopes and dreams.  The borderline simpleton Lee Guinness, a hopeless drinker was almost worthy of Alan Bennett in his vulnerability and loneliness, even though blind to his own desperate situation.  

Eales-White introduced them all swiftly, adding or removing a hat or a jacket to help establish character, but his most powerful tool was his excellent acting.  He never descended to  grotesque caricature, a problem in sketch shows sometimes, but he kept them human and humane. Even when playing a pigeon challenged with migraine, there was empathy.  

Blackouts cover each swift costume change and the show belted along.  The only time it stalled slightly was when the audience were involved, either to play the part of a girlfriend on a practice date, or in a rather lengthy, leaden question and answer session with Kenny the pub fixture whose answers were realistically banal.  So far every show I’ve seen  that has involved an audience member being invited on to the stage has been diminished by the experience.   

There were moments of pathos – the seethingly jealous ex-Army husband spying on his wife, suspicious of infidelity only to find the truth is more innocent, until the last time when catching her in flagrante, he finds himself in denial.  And possibly for the first time ever, a man wooing an inflatable sex doll was rendered with considerable tenderness.

The show was fun, subtle and slick and excellently performed.  You may find the end a bit of a cheat, a grow-your-own standing ovation moment, but it was disarmingly done, and sent out the audience feeling good.

Review date: 10 Aug 2012
Reviewed by: Julia Chamberlain
Reviewed at: Pleasance Courtyard

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