Drenched review at Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh – ‘intriguing subversion of the one-man storytelling show’
Eddie Elks and Dan Frost’s new play has fun with the tropes of the one-man storytelling show.
Dan Frost plays Daniel Drench, a Cornish storyteller, here to regale his audience with a Cornish folk tale, the Mermaid of Zennor. In ripped skinny jeans and a head-mic, he stalks the room as he earnestly relates the tale of Mathey Trewella, a young man with a fine voice who became enraptured with a mysterious beautiful woman.
But his telling of this tale is full of awkwardly long dips into silence and static patches where Frost stands and stares while recorded voiceovers are played.
An increasingly aggressive edge creeps into his performance. He snaps when he feels like a lighting cue has been mishandled; he becomes visibly frustrated that the audience isn’t sufficiently on side. He mutters darkly about auditioning for Poldark. Funny as this is, the shift comes too late to be fully effective.
Elks’ writing often has an intriguingly dreamlike quality – Botallack O’Clock, his play about artist Roger Hilton, was a case in point – and the conceit of the frustrated actor, seething at his audience while becoming weirdly psychologically entangled with his story, has real potential. The bits when Drench disrupts his own show are the highlights, but it’s slow going before that point.
We need your help…
When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.
The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.
We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.
Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.