Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: Leper + Chip, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Billy Barrett.
Two sweat-drippingly high-octane performances power this duologue about a pair of star-crossed lovers fighting through the mean streets of Dublin. Chip slaps away Leper’s first attempt at a kiss – smack! – which sparks a domino effect of violence narrated in graphic, foul-mouthed detail, each “smack!” that punctuates the action accompanied by a glaring flash of the back-lighting bulbs.
Eoghan Carrick and Eoin Winning’s lighting design deserves a special mention for this effect, which palpably intensifies Karl Shiels’ stylish, highly physical direction. Lee Coffey’s script is a thrilling laugh-out-loud ride through house party brawls and age-inappropriate sex, drunken parents and unsupervised kids, rolling headily towards a horrific climax.
But this is pulp violence, which doesn’t really feel pain. The stylised delivery, facing straight out to the audience, pounds through the plot so quickly that it’s difficult to get a handle on what’s actually driving our characters. This overt theatricality and lack of tonal variation mean that even the blazing performances of actors Conall Keating and Amilia Clarke Stewart aren’t enough to foster a proper emotional connection when the narrative takes a swerve for the sentimental.
Assembly Roxy (Venue 139) until 31 August / listing
Published in The Scotsman on 12 August 2015
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