Lucille and Cecilia | Edinburgh Fringe review by Steve Bennett
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Lucille and Cecilia

Edinburgh Fringe review by Steve Bennett

Some comedians might feel like they are performing seals during the Fringe, but Susannah Scott and Chloe Darke have gone the whole hog.

Their alter-egos are the circus sea lions Lucille and Cecilia, realised through black rubber bodysuits, bathing caps and Freddie Mercury moustaches, and a surprisingly accurate physical performance as they flap around the stage as they do their tricks, arff-arff-arffing their dialogue. It requires quite some acrobatic prowess, catching balls – and each other – in a balletic but funny display to the imposing Carmina Burana soundtrack. 

Lest you don’t speak sea lion, the pair eventually find their power of speech to invite the audience further into their world and their opposing views on captivity. One adores being pampered by their trainer Trevor – although it may be Stockholm Syndrome – the other feels violated by it. One sea lion’s seduction is another’s sexual misconduct.

They dream of escaping to the open ocean, but when that opportunity arises, one wants to seize it, the other crippled by fear, wants to stay put. Only a stiff-upper-lip style motivational speech urging a spot of derring-do, as if from an old war movie, proves persuasive. 

There are a few mid-show lulls as this plays out, especially an extended dream sequence imagining what life in the ‘big salty drink drink’ beyond the car park might be like. Here weird surrealism comes at the expense of more natural wit. 

But it’s slapstick that this pair excel at, as shown by a brutal bit of manhandling that looks very painful. Their chemistry is great, too, conveying an affectionate but argumentative double-act dynamic even before they find their words, thanks to their wonderfully expressive features. The talent is palpable; it’s just that an hour’s too long to convey the story they have.
 

Review date: 13 Aug 2019
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Assembly Rooms

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