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Another Someone
Published on Monday, 23 August 2010

4.5 stars

Bedlam Theatre (venue website)
9-21 Aug (not 15), 9:00pm (10:00pm)
Reviewed by Richard Stamp

Warning: Another Someone contains scenes of sensual dance.  But wait!  It contains a whole lot else besides: inspired humour, a couple of catchy songs, sensitive moments and a halfway-decent message to take away at the end.  It could all be a dog’s breakfast; but linked by a personable singing narrator, the components all slot into place… supporting each other to build a charming, entertaining whole.

The first part of the show is, primarily, very funny.  It’s a simple enough plot; the up-tight, repressed lawyer Holly moves in next door to the fiery waitress Alicia, who promptly sets up a blind date with her flat-mate Jim.  All three characters are wonderfully conceived (if deliberately stereotyped), but it’s Holly I enjoyed the most – if I mention she has a teddy bear called Mr Darcy, you’ll pretty much understand all you need to know.  And the humour, of course, lies in the culture clash with the happy-go-lucky Jim, a collision of worlds which drives them apart but (we can’t help but suspect) will somehow draw them together by the end.

Yeah, OK, it’s a rom-com.  But though it sounds derivative, it’s really anything but; the mix of styles, ranging from straight theatre and comedy musical right through to dance, makes sure of that.  One moment, there’s a song about the difficulty of leaving a boring party – which was a bit over-amplified and shouty, but otherwise inspired.  Minutes later, we’re watching an evocative and sexually frank dance celebrating the flourishing of new love; and later still, sitting on the edge of the stage, Holly shares her secret heartbreak with all the skills of the fine actress she clearly is.

It was a courageous decision to weave these threads together, but the end product somehow works, with the early humour warming me up enough that I was prepared to welcome the rather more conceptual scenes at the end.  And I was melted by the ice queen Holly, whose own back-story occupies the play’s more serious second half; in an intimately touching scene, she sheds her haughtiness and we share the sadness of her stolen childhood, taken from her by an over-controlling father.

The plot seemed to fizzle rather than reach a satisfying close, and I was worried that the last few scenes teetered on the edge of being self-indulgently weird.  But the enraptured response from the audience proved I wasn’t the only one who’d been carried along by it all.  So it’s a strong recommendation for Another Someone; it has the strangest mix of ingredients, but something rather wonderful comes out of the oven at the end.

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These are archived reviews of shows from the Edinburgh Fringe 2010.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to those we've featured, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.

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