The Second Coming

Aug 18 2017 | By More

★☆☆☆☆    Ouch

theSpace on North Bridge (Venue 36): Mon 14 – Sat 26 Aug 2017
Review by Hugh Simpson

Flat and lacking in laughter, Simply Surreal’s The Second Coming at theSpace on North Bridge tries hard to provoke, but fails.

Intended to be a retelling of the Nativity story, it starts with Virgin Amy becoming pregnant after events in a public toilet that probably should not be gone into here – although writer Dougal Thomson is so pleased with the idea, the exact same scene is staged in a different form later on.

The EdFringe website has the warning ‘contains blasphemy’, but it is difficult to imagine anyone being truly shocked, except by how juvenile it is. The opening scene at least promises a cruel energy. Instead, perhaps to stave off worries about that blasphemy, we later endure a long scene of talking, much of it stating a pro-religion case, that can only be intended as some sort of parody. It falls short either way.

The participants in that discussion are three doctors, all called Wiseman, while Amy’s friend is Angela Gabriel, who works for the Guardian. Unfortunately, these are the best jokes in the play.

unsure staging

It is described as a farce, but that requires a rigorous internal logic and split-second timing, not unsure staging. What laughter does come seems forced – and is mainly caused by characters insulting each other – in a story that goes nowhere particularly interesting, then suddenly stops.

The cast, many of whom have proved their abilities elsewhere, are largely floundering. There are at least a couple of attempts to inject some pace – except during the philosophical discussion – and Joe McTernan’s hapless stoner does have a peculiar fascination.

‘Surreal’ has of course long since lost its connotations of the bizarre and dreamlike; it now refers to anything that could be predicted with less than 100% certainty, such as a footballer scoring on their debut.

Here, ‘surreal’ seems to mean a vague adolescent desire to shock, couched as an inconsistent comedy that, in the cold light of day, should probably have been forgotten about.

Running time 45 minutes (no interval)
theSpace on North Bridge (Venue 36), North Bridge, EH1 1SD
Monday 14 – Saturday 26 August 2017
Daily at 6.10 pm (not Sun)
Book tickets on the Fringe website:
Company Facebook: @SimplySurreall


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Comments (2)

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  1. Caroline Gos says:

    How rude.
    Very thought provoking show. Loved it .
    Not for the close- minded, mind you. I recommend Peppa goes on holiday- PG audience and easy to follow x

  2. Sandra says:

    Amazing, delicious and so much fun made our Edinburgh fringe. Go and see it…