Lorraine & Alan

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Scotsman review (theatre): Lorraine & Alan at Pleasance Dome (Venue 23). Review by Susan Mansfield

Alan, a recent graduate in marine biology, has moved back in with his parents in Norfolk, and spends his days playing Xbox in his bedroom and working as a guide on seal tours. One misty day, he notices something lying on the beach among the seals: could it be the body of a woman?

This contemporary retelling of the selkie myth is written by Nel Crouch (who also directs) and Becky Ripley. Alan and Lorraine (she chooses the name after seeing Lorraine Kelly on TV) fall in love, and for years nothing seems amiss – unless you count the fact that she adds salt to her drinks and eats tuna straight from the tin. But as life changes for both of them, Lorraine starts to spend too long in the bath, and even moving to Leamington Spa, the most landlocked town in Britain, won’t hold back the inevitable.

Young theatre company Bucket Club, supported by the Pleasance’s Charlie Harthill Special Reserve Fund, have created a charming, poignant comedy. Katie Sherrard and Adam Farrell are superb as Lorraine and Alan, with plastic bottles of water standing in for all the other characters. Musicians Becky Ripley and David Ridley provide a live soundtrack for the action, from seal calls to close harmony singing, occasionally making cameo appearances in the story.

Sometimes, perhaps, the plot developments come along too suddenly, but Crouch and Ripley’s script excels in its warmth, humour, and its acute observations of life. While it does not diverge from the framework of the original myth, it encapsulates much of human life – falling in and out of love, having children, losing a parent – succinctly and without fuss, but with great sensitivity.

Until 25 August. Today 1:30pm, more info

Originally published in The Scotsman

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