Alan Harris’ one-man play Sugar Baby is a great laugh, a chaotic comedy caper set on the streets of Cardiff with a cast of petty criminals and small-time drug dealers. There’s a frank dose of socio-political comment squirted in too.
Catherine Paskell’s production for Dirty Protest whisks the audience through a whirlwind few hours in Fairwater, a suburb of poverty and payday loans. Our hero is Alex Griffin-Griffiths’ Marc, a bright young lad from a broken home who’s deep in debt to the local loanshark, a self-aggrandising squarehead called Oggy.
When everything gets a bit hairy for Marc and for his sassy high-school sweetheart Lisa, the two of them desperately make plans to leave town with the help of Billy the Seal – a hallucinatory statue come to life.
Griffin-Griffiths invests Marc with a bouncy, boisterous, but entirely likeable bravado. He holds court in Summerhall’s Roundabout, turning the space into a pub and relating his escapades to the audiences as if they were bar-flies clinging to his every word.
It’s an over-the-top performance that not only manages to subtly evoke the deep-rooted societal problems of a deprived area, but also captures Harris’ rollicking humour. Sugar Baby’s all a bit silly, but stonking good fun nonetheless.