Alanta Colley is photographed for Broadway Baby pretending to shoot a pigeon that is hovering just above her head. Nothing – animal, vegetable or mineral – will prevent her from chucking her big bucket of stars over everything she sees. She really does seem to like almost everything.
There are victims, however. Metaphors are abducted at finger-gun-point and worked to death, or until you work out what Colley is talking about -whichever is sooner. “[Jon] Bennett, in a furious episode of brutal honesty throws item after item out from that trunk of family secrets on to the stage, in the pursuit of understanding”, she says. That Pair: Never Liked Her Anyway “is a canapé stuffed with wildly terrible puns, hilarious melodrama, ungainly and dangerous stunts, a splash of cattiness, and generous irreverence”. Sorry to get all Nancy Mitford on you dear, but you don’t stuff things in a canape.
It’s a shame because when Colley sticks to plain English she does very well indeed. Her account of how Simon Evans “relays the tale of the treacherous intergenerational politics that raged over a period of years within his family over the purchase of a pet dog …[is] worthy of the plot of ‘Yes Minister’” is a great bit of writing. Of course she then goes and sabotages any credence we might have in her sense of humour: “Jokes about children volunteering themselves for sexual abuse to paedophiles wants a solid justification that the show lacked to some extent.”
By her own admission, Colley can’t abide everything: “Some people, like this prudish reviewer, try as they might, can’t find scenes mimicking domestic violence or the word slut being yelled loudly and repeatedly funny. And they can see that they’re clearly missing out because the rest of the audience is having the best of times” [Kelfi & Fikel].
Try as I might, though (and I do try) this reviewer-reviewer cannot find anything that counteracts Colley’s general good humour, expansive vocabulary and proper use of paragraphs. Plus she seems genuinely glad to be at the Fringe.
Marigold Bumbellina Froome