Ding-Dong (A Bit of a Farce)

at Traverse Theatre

* * * - -

An enjoyable, up-to-date farce, with a surprising serving of pathos

Image of Ding-Dong (A Bit of a Farce)

Farce as a theatre genre may not be as ubiquitous as it was in the past and so it actually makes quite a refreshing change. This one is right up to date though, very physical and with its familiar (for Edinburgh residents at least) setting of middle class Morningside, is an ideal play for a light-hearted lunchtime in Edinburgh.

The play is written by Hilary Lyon, who also takes the role of Susie. Susie (the protagonist) and her adopted son Mikey live next door to snobby Jennifer (the antagonist) in an affluent area. The script contains some very good jokes. There are points where it loses pace and becomes a bit predictable, but on the whole it’s an enjoyable story.

The acting in this is very good. There’s an ebullient energy to the piece and a cast of varied characters played by four actors. They are mostly stereotypes and archetypes, but given the tone and style, it works, especially as the actors’ portrayals make them so recognisable and real. Gail Watson is almost athletic as the conceited Jennifer, a character we love to hate. She is over the top, but Watson nails her completely, ensuring the audience revels in her (metaphorical) demise. Clare Waugh is thoroughly engaging and very funny as Susie’s sister, also nearly receiving a spontaneous round of applause for a brilliant and perfectly executed brief cameo as a mumbling delivery person. Buchan Lennon, meanwhile, delivers a believable and touching performance as Mikey.

Perhaps the most surprising element of this, though, is that it’s not just a daft bit of fun, it actually does have something to say, with the ending bringing touching emotion and satisfying warmth, without detracting from the humour. It may not be cutting edge stuff, but it is light, silly and entertaining and there’s a lot to be said for that.