Don’t go and see this with your significant other. American writer Jonathan Caren’s five-handed comedy, set during a stag-do – sorry, bachelor party – camping trip, is a playful and provocative dissection of marriage and monogamy. It knows how to needle you.
Four friends – Dez, Sean, Andre and Boardman – are on a kayaking trip to celebrate Dez’s impending wedding. As they shoot the breeze over beers and sausages, though, a lone woman gatecrashes their camp and semi-seriously starts to interrogate them about their respective relationships, their uncertainties and insecurities.
Over two long scenes and 75 minutes, Caren and director Teddy Bergman craft a compelling case against conventional romance. They’re helped by a classy American cast as well. Noah Bean catches the right combination of friendliness and fear as Dez, and Lyndsy Fonseca – remarkably making her theatrical debut – is witty and whip-smart as intruder Emma. That the pair are married in real life goes some way to explain their clear chemistry on stage.
You don’t actually get stuff like this at the Fringe very often. Searching but straightforward drama, simply and securely directed and proficiently performed. It’s an odd breath of fresh air, and an absorbing hour and a bit.