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Goggles review at Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh – ‘dippy, eccentric, funny’

Josie Dale-Jones and Gemma Barnett in Goggles Josie Dale-Jones and Gemma Barnett in Goggles
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Two friends in goggles and swimming gear welcome the audience in with expectant if self-conscious smiles. Oh, and their two pet goldfish have just died. Soul mates since primary school, dreamer Josie and pragmatic Gemma (the fish are Sunny and Boo) are now adults and have just moved into the same flat, eager for what the big wide world out there has to offer them. Josie seems quite content with this big step in life but Gemma yearns to get out on her own and secretly starts saving up for a week in Venice.

In this exquisitely gentle comedy from ThisEgg, the abrupt death of the fish gets Josie and Gemma analysing their friendship, unwittingly weighing companionship with loneliness and the panic of breaking free. They go back to the beginning to tell us about their first meeting, their rivalries, their favourite songs – watched over by their fish who converse in machine-gun Noel Coward quips.

You settle back for what what might be a light, devised showcase – and then comes a moment where you realise with a jolt that you can hear a pin drop as the enormity of it all hits the audience at the same time as it hits the pair onstage. And now we’re really wondering who’s living in the fish bowl.

Josie Dale-Jones and Gemma Barnett keep it simple and convincing, in touch with the audience throughout as they make every gesture and look speak as much as their words. Dippy, eccentric, funny and with a message in there too, if Edinburgh was ever about discovering a gem where you least expect then Goggles is it.

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Exquisite comedy about friendship and goldfish has unexpected depths