Fat Alice

Apr 9 2015 | By More

✭✭✭✭✩    Skin tight

Traverse Theatre: Tue 7 – Sat 11 April 2015

There’s a twitching unease about Peter and Moira as they sit down to celebrate their 10th anniversary in Fat Alice, Alison Carr’s juicily-observed two-hander which is this week’s A Play, A Pie and A Pint lunchtime theatre session at the Traverse.

It’s more than the crack in Moira’s ceiling, which she can’t get out of her head but he has trouble even seeing. It’s a sense, only. Something unsaid which their conversation dances round as they discuss everything but that which is eating them up.

Meg Fraser and Richard Conlon in Fat Alice. Photo: Lesley Black

Meg Fraser and Richard Conlon in Fat Alice. Photo: Lesley Black

Meg Fraser is hugely watchable as no-nonsense Moira, twitching about the stage squinting up into the ceiling. She has a slightly perturbing accent – which never quite settles – but otherwise her performance is stunning, with her looks of incredulity at Peter’s denials being perfectly pitched.

Richard Conlon’s Peter is rather less at ease. In complete denial, to the point where he can’t even look up into the ceiling. And the vaguely-masked look of contempt he has for the salad dinner she produces is another masterful piece of performing.

The early reveal is that this tenth anniversary of the start of their relationship is also the anniversary of the start of their affair. He has not yet left his wife and child, while she still hopes he might, having set this auspicious day as the deadline for him to tell them.

But everything about Peter, from his body language to the tenor of his argument to the quality of his excuses, indicates that any such hope of him giving up his family is an illusion. Maybe, you wonder as a thunderous noise splits the theatre and the ceiling bulges,  it is all in Moira’s imagination.

another dimension of comedy and pathos

When a gross foot appears through the crack, this steps up into another dimension of comedy and pathos. All sense of realism departs, leaving a production which is now able to examine, with what appears in retrospect to be rather more information than is comfortable, Moira’s own fears about self and body image.

It’s a fascinating and utterly unexpected turn of events and one which director Joe Douglas has the chutzpah to ensure runs seamlessly into the reality of the situation, as Alison Carr brings the guilt and hidden frustrations and lies of an affair onto the stage in a surreal comedy of the sexes.

Running time: 50 minutes (not interval)
|Traverse Theatre, 10 Cambridge Street, EH1 2ED

Tuesday 7-Saturday 11 April 2015.
Lunchtimes daily: 1pm; evening performance Friday: 7pm.
Tickets and details from: www.traverse.co.uk


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