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Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally review at Pleasance, Edinburgh – ‘inventive and energetic’

Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally at the Pleasance, Edinburgh Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally at the Pleasance, Edinburgh

A small story is brought alive through playwright Kevin Armento’s original approach and by an energetic and eclectic staging in One Year Lease’s Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally – which, to get it out of the way, is a mnemonic used in algebra classes.

An algebra teacher confiscates a student’s phone and, after returning it, impulsively texts him. Before either of them can keep track of what’s happening, they’re in the middle of a brief affair.

The playwright keeps this potentially sordid story light by telling it in the voice of the phone, which reports with wonder on what its camera is seeing and its screen reading. Comic lines include the phone referring to a pocket as its “studio apartment”. Plot twists occur, such as the teacher’s boyfriend and the lad’s mother both completely misreading what’s happening in different ways.

Meanwhile, director Ianthe Demos, with choreographer Natalie Lomonte, creates a constantly fluid movement in which individual cast members or the whole group take turns being the voice of the phone – peeping at, reacting to and swirling around the principals.

The mix of dance, mime and story theatre takes the play away from deep drama to create a celebration of theatrical energy that offers assurance that all will turn out pretty much all right.

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Inventive and energetic staging keeps a potentially sordid story light and safe