Party @ [email protected] Street, Edinburgh

cast list
Anna Crilly, Tim Key, Jonny Sweet, Tom Basden, Katy Wix

directed by
Phil Breen
Tom Basdens new sitcom style play is a neat little satire on how ideals get bogged down in bureaucracy.

Five students have decided to form a new political party.

But before they can launch themselves upon the world they have to figure out their stance on the issues of the day (“Are we in favour of Muslims?”) and then of course theres the important matter of picking their party colours and working out if its OK or not for them to drink the non-Fair Trade coffee. (No, they decide in the end, its not OK, and they pour it out onto the plants).
Jared has taken charge of things, purely it seems because the meeting is being held at his mums house. Mel is the liberal who doesnt let a small thing like not knowing much about stuff get in the way of her beliefs. Phoebe is the secretary, taking notes and overseeing the many, many votes that need to be taken. Jones thinks they should be called the Generation Party, despite the potential for this to be confused for the Generation Game, and Duncan has just been invited because his dad owns a printing firm and might be able to get them a discount rate on flyers; he thought he was coming along to the other kind of party and has brought some wine with him.

Theres a lot of mileage to be had in wooly-headed middle class kids who know almost nothing about the world beyond their suburban bubble but know for certain it would be better if they were charge; its fertile if not hugely original ground.

Most of the cast are comedians who are performing their own shows elsewhere during the Festival. Basden, winner of if.comedy Best Newcomer in 2007, is singing some comedy songs; Anna Crilly and Katy Wix are performing surreal sketch comedy together and Tim Key is selling out with his Slutcracker at the Pleasance. Some of the performers seem happier with the more conventional dramatic set up than others. Key is appealingly deadpan as the sweet, nave Duncan while Jonny Sweet gives the competitive Jared a hypocritical edge; hes full of earnest sentiments but he can barely disguise his unease and discomfort when around someone who doesnt fit with his view of the world.

The writing is consistently, if gently, amusing but the play never quite takes off and the script feels at times like an extended comic sketch; the characters are fuzzy at best and it has the air of a work in progress, one with real potential but still a not quite finished thing. There is a sense that with a little refinement it could become genuinely sharp comedy but its not there yet.

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