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Made for Each Other - Free
Published on Friday, 24 August 2012
5

5 stars (Critic's Choice)

Laughing Horse @ Bar 50 (venue website)
Theatre
15-26 Aug, 4:50pm-5:40pm
Reviewed by Jane Bristow

 Free and unticketed. No pre-booking required.
 Recommended for age 16+ only.

A play about gay marriage is certainly timely for this year’s Fringe – next year it’s expected that a bill will be passed to legalise it within Scotland. But although it’s an important aspect of Made For Each Other, it’s so effectively dealt with that it almost becomes an incidental aspect of the plot. Make no mistake, this is no preachy piece of theatre, but a frequently hilarious and thoroughly thoughtful analysis of a relationship. Both the writing and the acting could not have been better from this impressive piece of free theatre.

The plot is carefully built up around four characters, who include Vincent and Gerry (the couple), Gerry’s grandfather (who’s dead) and Vincent’s mother (who’s suffering from Alzheimer’s). All of these are impressively performed by John Fico, with just seamless voice changes and a few props to mark the switch between each character’s monologues. And this absolutely works. We learn that Gerry, a nurse, has proposed to Vincent, a teacher, after meeting in the psychiatric ward inhabited by Vincent’s mother. There’s suspense as Gerry and Vincent each confide to the audience their worries about their marriage, with interjections from the mother and Gerry’s dead grandfather.

The format allows each character to develop into a thoroughly believable individual, and stops any of them from falling into crass stereotypes. Vincent is a particularly refreshing depiction of being gay but (I’m quoting here) “not a fairy”, and provided some incredibly witty lines, mainly directed at actors. I became totally engrossed by each of their musings, especially by Vincent’s mother’s subplot – I’ve never seen dementia dealt with so effectively on stage.

And all of this despite a tucked-away, uninspiring venue.  Yet at no point was I anything other than engrossed by the production.  I also fear the title doesn’t do justice to the play; it makes it sound like a standard rom-com, which this piece of writing absolutely isn’t.

It was original but crucially, still accessible, with aspects that will appeal across the board. A magnificent play that provides an intelligent way of looking at a complex issue, and gently questions why it is even an issue – humans are all fundamentally the same after all.  As Made For Each Other’s writer Monica Bauer dryly put it at the end, ‘we’ve made enough money to come here but not enough to go back’. So please do go and help them out.

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FROM OUR ARCHIVES

These are archived reviews of shows from Edinburgh 2012.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.

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