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Flies review at Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh – ‘a little bit brilliant’

Piers Hampton, George Readshaw, Harry Humberstone. Photo: The Other Richard

Pteronarcophobia. That’s the fear of flies. And it’s what drives this intelligently staged co-production between master storytellers Les Enfants Terribles and family-focused theatre company Pins and Needles.

Dennis is scared of flies. Terrified, in fact. So much so that he’s got to see a therapist about it. That he’s prepared to seal up his home and stay indoors forever. That he’s prepared to board a flight to Antarctica – a magical, no-fly zone.

Under Emma Earle and Hannah Drake’s ceaselessly inventive direction, Oliver Lansley’s play is a fluid examination of Dennis’ phobia, from its origins to its eventual defeat, littered with little skits and sketches, and accompanied by a twee electronica score courtesy of Kid Carpet.

We get a young Dennis horrified by a classmate’s dissection of a live insect. We get Dennis freaking out on a flight to the South Pole. Best of all, we get Piers Hampton as a shape-shifting fly.

In a white tuxedo, Hampton smarms and oozes his way across the stage, taunting Dennis and taunting the audience with his sinister, sleazy vibes – it’s a wonderful, wrong-footing performance throughout, aided and abetted by Harry Humberstone’s multi-roling hype-man. In fact, the whole thing is a little bit brilliant.

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Verdict
Inventive, intelligent three-hander about a man with a crippling phobia of flies

Production

Production
Flies
Venue
Pleasance Courtyard
City
Edinburgh
Starts
August 1, 2018
Ends
August 27, 2018
Authors
Oliver Lansley
Music
Kid Carpet
Director
Emma Earle, Hannah Drake
Design
Zoe Squire
Lighting
Chris Swain
Sound
Jon Everett
Technical
Matt Revell Griffiths
Stage manager
Mim Evison
Cast includes
Piers Hampton, Harry Humberstone, George Readshaw
Producer
Les Enfants Terribles, Pins and Needles
Running time
1hr