Imagine a young Patsy from Ab Fab doing a twisted clown show as revenge on a porn-obsessed ex and you pretty much have Prune, a surprisingly nifty little number in the bowels of 52 Canoes on West Port.
Prune, or “Pruuuuuuneeeeey” to render her in her own accent, is a comic grotesque in a brown onesie – mega-boobed, hunch-backed and with a padded out bum the width of the Grassmarket. She mopes around this basement moaning “saaaaaad” and weirding out the punters. What follows is a fabulous fifty minute freakshow precis of what got her into that condition.
It starts with her meeting her former love, an encounter acted out, from first glance to furious fornication, with noises and face-pulling. We then get wedding (or maybe not), childbirth (or maybe not), relationship-rescuing pet adoption (or maybe not) with audience members roped in to support. The crux of the evening, though, is that this lover of hers – no spoiler alert necessary: it’s there on the blurb – has been making sexy time with Euro ladies via webcam. Pruney’s dreams have shrivelled like loverboy’s porn-ravaged soul. Her popcorn-in-hand venture into what he’s been watching is a particular highlight. Another is this bulging, morose clown in front of us trying fruitlessly to sexily act out the scenes she has witnessed.
This is actually a neat take on the traditional break-up show. Rather than pillory the ex, Serena Flynn has turned herself into the dried-up figure of fun. Perversely, it’s kind of dignified. By aping the pouts and gyrations of anonymous Russian teens, she makes them, and by implication him, look even more grotesque than her. It’s far more effective than a straight, go-for-the-jugular bitter takedown. Prune is vulnerable, and as many a self-help book says, in vulnerability lies strength. Despite all the odd lumps and bumps, she’s not the ugly one here.
To be boringly technical about it, Prune has a trim, well-balanced story arc with no sign of bits Flynn got overly carried away with, as can sometimes be the case with these shows. But there’s nothing boring or technical about this show, not when there’s a weird, lumpy person getting erotic with a water bottle. For a show about porn, it has a lot of heart. You learn to love the Prune. And if it is rooted in reality, it must be very satisfying catharsis to perform.