There has been no shortage of gig theatre up in Edinburgh this year. There’s been gig romcoms, gig documentaries, gig dramas, and here’s another variation.
Hippana Theatre’s Alabama God Damn, co-written by Paul Harris and Olivier LeClair, is part country and western gig, part comedy crime thriller.
Frank – a perturbed and irritable Ashley Driver – narrates his return from Charlotte, North Carolina, to his hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, to attend the funeral of his wacky, conspiracy theorist childhood pal. The town he finds, however, is full of secrets, sweethearts and sinister crimes.
Over a freewheeling hour, four performers create a comic caper spliced with songs – country ballads and bluegrass beats played on guitar, banjo, drums and mouth organ.
In a really entertaining performance, LeClair supplies most of the characters, shifting between simpering Southern belles and rootin’-tootin’ rednecks with just a change of cap, and a slick shift of accent.
There are a few missteps. The actual plot is really quite woolly – something about a local lumberyard tycoon trying to take over the town – and there’s an awkwardly serious incident that feels distinctly out of place amid such light-hearted larkiness. For the most part, though, Kieran Fay’s production is good, all-American fun.