Question: How many shows at this year’s Fringe will contain a zombified London, aliens, dream sequences, time travel and a man with a sexual attraction to plants? If we’re being generous, you’ll maybe get three at best. However, of those three, how many will be performed by a single man? Answer: One, this one!
Tom Neenan plays Professor Bernard Andromeda (for the most part anyway), whose main desire is to make space travel a reality (‘We wanted to get the first man in space before the Russians and women,’ he claims). By sheer chance, he happens upon an ancient artefact that might just be evidence of alien technology – the kind of technology that proves Andromeda’s dreams are closer than he had thought. As is always the case, Andromeda is not the only one interested in such a discovery and thus propels our surrealist journey through the greenhouse of a known plant sex-pest, to government offices and TV newsrooms.
The plot – if it’s safe to call it that – leaps from one outrageous scenario to the next, but Neenan’s likeable personality keeps things enjoyable as you struggle to figure out where the hell this is all going. There’s even a task force whose name is far more integral to the story than you might think, and it’s this sort of ridiculousness which makes the show such tremendous fun.
At the risk of falling into cliché – Neenan doesn’t appear too worried when a few jokes don’t land, because there’s another bunch ready just around the corner, and it takes him mere seconds to get back into his groove. He is a skilled performer, juggling characters (and creatures) in many scenes, with a hilarious touch of over-acting that might not win any awards, but it’ll damn sure live in the memory as a fantastically strange and hilarious journey. Come in, have fun and definitely don’t try and figure out if any of it actually makes any sense.