A Royal Flush

Aug 18 2016 | By More

★★★☆☆      Consistently absurdist

theSpace on the Mile (Venue 39): Sat 6 – Fri 26 Aug 2016
Review by Linus West

A bundle of guaranteed, surreal comedy, but nothing unexpected or ground-breaking, Cat O’ Nine Tales’ A Royal Flush is a safe bet for an hour of humour at the Fringe.

Written through improvisation by a young group of actors focused on ridiculing the absurdity of the world around us, this production feeds on the audience’s degrading stereotypes of print press, playing it safe.

Joe Walsh and Alex Card. Photo Cat O'Nine Tales

Joe Walsh and Alex Card. Photo Cat O’Nine Tales

The story starts off in the main offices of the Daily Star newspaper, one of the last in a dying bread of traditional tabloid newspapers, grappling day by day to out-do its competitors in breaking the most shocking story.

Lewis Lauder delivers a solid performance as Chris, one of the new generation of innovative online journalists. It’s his first day at the job and he already has one eye on the career ladder. He also just happens to be the nephew of Piers Morgan.

Simon has been at the Daily Star for a while now. Portrayed by Calum Ferguson, he inhabits every stereotype imaginable about a weasel-like reporter, who will go to any bounds to get the next big story. The two play off each other well, Chris providing a rational character for Simon to wind up. The clash of old and new works well.

Suddenly, Chris gets an video sent to his mail box. It shows two masked, apparent terrorists, claiming to have kidnapped Princess Beatrice of York in what looks suspiciously like a Portaloo.

an entertaining picture

The attention now shifts to Andy and Lee (respectively played by Joe Walsh and Alex Card), two construction workers convinced they have a member of the royal family in their clutches, and intent on ransoming her to the press for the grand total of £20,000.

This second double act also works well; builders attempting to imitate the persona of dangerous terrorists makes for an entertaining picture. It’s one great big bumbling mess of incompetence, not to mention a lot of accents.

Kate Foley-Scott works well in the role of the outhouse incumbent, with textbook, exaggerated acting. This cast works together well, all backing up whoever’s in the spotlight. There’s nothing extraordinary or shocking in this production, but nothing major to fault in terms of performance.

Now and again, the odd character bursts into a tearful monologue about the sorrowful situation their life has become. Perhaps it makes some small contribution to characterisation, but feels jarring, and if anything depresses the audience in the middle of a comedy.

A Royal Flush stays inside its comfort zone, playing it safe. However, it nonetheless presents a sure choice for anyone scouring the Fringe in search of a guaranteed laugh.

Running time 1 hour (no interval)
theSpace on the Mile, High Street, EH1 1TH (Venue 39)
Saturday 6 – Friday 26 August 2016. Even Dates: 1:45pm
Further information and tickets: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/royal-flush
Cat O’ Nine Tales Facebook:CatO9TalesPro
Cat O’ Nine Tales Twitter: @cato9talesPro


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