Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters, Edinburgh, Scotland

19/08/2013 - 25/08/2013

Edinburgh Fringe 2013

Production Details

Desiree hasn’t had much in the way of company for the last five years, when Melinda arrives on the scene she’s ready to chat! Melinda isn’t so keen. As we watch these women grapple with their circumstances, and laugh at the absurd ways in which they deal with life not going to plan, we can’t help but feel warmth for them.

Perhaps because their farcical journeys are not so unlike our own, we all become a little bit crazy when we are thoroughly cheesed off!

Expect laughter, tears and the unlikeliest of friendships! 

Venue:  Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters  
Date:  19-25 August
Time:  12:30
Duration:  1 hour
Suitability:  14+
Country of Origin:  New Zealand 

1 hr

Uncertainty makes for manic energy

Review by Robbie Nicol 23rd Aug 2013

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe regularly puts you in unusual situations. This may or may not include getting advice from a bartender to climb into a dilapidated double-decker bus that I had not yet noticed in the corner of a courtyard. The bus has been painted a series of psychedelic colours, and on its top deck is a play about cheese, goats and attempted murder.

Blanket Theatre’s production Cheesed Off is part of the Free Festival. This might guarantee a larger audience (though not always) but, like a street performance, it also means that a show has to prove its worth. Having not put their money where their mouth is, the audience is not so concerned about whether or not they enjoy the production. Fortunately, I think most people do.

The acting style and the storyline have absolutely no believability, but by the end Blanket Theatre start to embrace that ludicrousness and Cheesed Off seems good enough to warrant a bigger venue, and a more committed audience.  

Jodie Ellis plays Desiree, a reclusive New Zealander on the other side of the world with only a goat for company. Amanda Walden, after taking us through a humorously casual safety briefing as a flight attendant, becomes Melinda – a ‘worldly’ woman on the run after accidentally killing her boss. Ellis portrays the boss as a much smaller Douglas Reynholm from Graham Linehan’s the IT Crowd, and the rest of the show has a tendency to feel as though it lies in that genre of sitcom.

The characters are deliberately two-dimensional, the storyline is not always important, and the show is at its best when it is most silly.

There are some jokes that really work (Ellis not being able to hold a carrot because she is using her hand to imitate the boss’s fake moustache) and there are some moments of real physical agility (avoiding eye-contact becomes an impressively choreographed scrap).

It might be the sound of traffic in the background, or the difficulty in maintaining good sightlines in a bus. It might just be that the audience hasn’t paid for a ticket, but there is a lack of certainty in the actors’ performances that stops the production from being the romp it ought to be.

Old-fashioned sitcom jokes always come with a laughing studio audience. The people watching need to be convinced that the show is good and that everything is okay. Blanket Theatre never quite convinces us to relax because they don’t seem entirely comfortable themselves. In spite of this, the production is consistently entertaining and a manic energy is derived from that uncertainty.

Cheesed Off deserves to be in a space where the actors can show a greater confidence in their production, and if Graham Linehan ever chose to make a sitcom about goat cheese and rich aunts from New Zealand, then I certainly wouldn’t be against the idea.


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