Big Bite-Size Lunch Hour: Best Bites

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Theatre

Pleasance Dome

Venue 23

12.30

6 – 29 August, not 16, 23

****

 The show consists of five of the best plays from the last ten years of Big Bite-Sized breakfast shows, all performed to the accustomed high standard.  No lunch is offered but there are delicious, Scottish, strawberries.

 

All the plays were excellent: some resonated more strongly with me than others.  A Rottweiler facing being put down for a savage attack on two tiny dogs tries to put the case for the defence – “I can’t help it: I’m a Rottweiler and that’s how you people bred me to be” – almost but not quite convinced me.  A cheery know-it-all barman turns out to be The Answer Man, with his irritating little song, who will answer all the deep questions the girl really wants answered, if only she could stop complaining about having just been dumped, and asking rhetorical questions, thus using up her allotted number of questions  (why do people not think before they speak?).  A very Dashiell Hammett hard-boiled and cynical detective, with attendant musically-commenting saxophonist, encounters The Girl in the Red Dress: ‘tec and girl are forced to question whether they or their internal monologues are driving the action and, indeed, whether they are the Big Fish they imagine themselves to be.  A couple of ‘vintage re-enactors’ who are so hooked on the 1940s that they have chosen to make every aspect of their lives truly authentic, until the dilemma they are facing brings them to seek our help and advice.  My favourite, which opened the show, had a couple meeting on a blind date which their Inner Voices were doing their best to scupper the evening and get their particular charge home along and seeking solace in alcohol.  The voices have succeeded on any number of previous occasions, but this time things don’t go according to plan…

 

All five plays are well-written, the characters are generally engaging, the dialogue witty and the situations amusing if somewhat incredible.  It’s a good hour’s entertainment, a nicely contrasting menu of short courses which together make up a delicious light lunch.  Having already seen this group of actors in one of their Big Bite-Sized Breakfast menus, it’s a joy to see them again in yet more widely-differing parts. The set and lighting are extremely simple, and the rapid changes between each play keep our attention engaged: each new situation grabs the audience right from the start, and the applause at the end was loud and long.

 Mary Woodward