Hysterical audience mars clever play

6.0: How Heap and Pebble Took on the World, Dancing Brick, Pulse Festival, New Wolsey Studio, June 11

As a result of global warming, the last of the world’s ice has disappeared but, in a doggedly determined performance, famous ice-dancing pair, Heap and Pebble, go through their routines on a wooden floor in front of their adoring fans.

The moves are all from the book of classical ice-skating but the actors do not glide, they are forced to step.

A great idea for a comedy sketch, it did not seem to have the “legs” for a one-hour play and, faced with adoring fans in the audience, it made for a slightly uncomfortable evening.

The whoops and cries of hysterical laughter from part of the audience – from a few seconds after the actors took to the stage – no doubt encouraged others to join in the laughter but it was very distracting and left me with the impression that I was somehow missing the joke, which I often was.

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It reduced my enjoyment of what was undoubtedly a clever and amusing show in which two very talented actors, Thomas Eccleshare and Valentina Ceschi, take on the gloss of stars while revealing inner vulnerabilities, obsessions and irritations away from the limelight. It gives a satirical slant on “celebrity”, popular sport and what happens when our environment stops providing us with what we need.

But I would like to see this play performed in front of a reasonably neutral audience – one which is more easily able to form its own judgement over what seems to attract a “cult” following, possibly as the result of a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe.

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David Green

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