Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: The London 2012 Games Closing Ceremony Closing Ceremony, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Sally Stott.
There’s a woman frantically trying to swallow a Jaffa Cake in the front row. She hates them and hasn’t eaten one for over 30 years, but she’s doing it anyway for the good of her “team” of audience members. That’s the kind of communal sacrifice and competitive spirit this show is all about. It’s also an ambitious and imaginative tale about family and community bonds, a pertinent political call to arms, and a biting social commentary.
Written by comedian David Callaghan and performed by actress Clare Sheppard, it follows young Glaswegian woman Holly who, accompanied by her talking sausage dog Alan (it’s normal), rips into everyday habits and attitudes with such merciless joy she could easily have her own stand-up show. Initially sceptical of the London 2012 Olympics, she tells us she was won over – like many of us – by Danny Boyle’s spectacular opening ceremony and its celebration of modern Britain at its best. And now she wants that spirit back again.
A woman who describes Russell Brand as “an artful dodger made of pubic hair” and Olympic diving as “just men falling”, Holly pinpoints how, in life, “Most of us want to go to the volleyball but end up at the dressage.” Telling us what happened to her during those few weeks in 2012, with Alan – represented by a cartoon drawing on a stand – chipping in, the piece turns into a surprisingly personal story, highlighting the importance of treasuring happy moments in life, wherever they come from.
One of the happiest moments in my Fringe so far has to be playing volleyball on stage with fellow audience members here and, if I say it myself, scoring some great goals.
Sometimes, says Holly, it’s good to see normal people rather than athletes competing. Everyone can’t be a winner, but we’re all fighting life’s challenges and sometimes that’s worth celebrating more.
C Nova (Venue 145) until 31 August
Published in The Scotsman on 22 August 2015
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