Edinburgh Festival Fringe Scotsman review (theatre): The Art of Falling Apart at Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33). Reviewed by Sally Stott
“I have no idea what the idea is,” one of the characters says at the beginning of this marauding, messy, unusual and ultimately profound show, which is actually full of ideas – the main one being: how do we deal with failure when everything we’re taught to aspire for is success?
Invigorating and surprising, it’s not a slick piece but what it lacks in focus it makes up for with sheer originality and probably the best depiction of going on a night out clubbing that I’ve ever seen.
Written and directed by Robert Farquhar, it is performed with clown-like glee by Matt Rutter, who plays a middle-aged everyman Callum, and Tim Lynskey, a wide-eyed, cartoon-faced one-person acting ensemble, who plays everyone else.
Callum is struggling to find his place in a world in which his mates spout bile about unfulfilled dreams in the pub, suave and swankier men get ahead at the office, and his wife keeps trying to persuade him to have boring nights in.
But a chance encounter with a man named Brian – a gloriously wide-eyed, super-camp, open-hearted fool – sets Callum on a different path: one of shots, psychedelic drugs, “a f***ed-up underground version of Abigail’s Party” and the thrill of all things unpredictable. Hanging on two excellent performances, a whole universe – one that Callum has being previously missing out on – is conjured up.
A kind of post-modern farce, the fantastical is slammed together with observations on modern living – from the omnipresence of the West Cornwall Pasty Company to the eclectic people that fill our lives whether we want them to of not.
A final sing-along in which we’re invited to celebrate our own lack of achievement with a chorus of “we’ll all end up dead” culminates with half the room in tears, either of laughter or sadness or a bit of both.
Until 25 August. Today 12:20pm, more info
Originally published in The Scotsman
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