Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: What Would Spock Do?, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Sally Stott.
There’s a woman in an office and she’s dressed as Mr Spock; not in an obvious way, but subtly – the severe angular haircut, a tight fitting blue top and a little badge. It’s a striking image, one that her fellow office worker, Gary, instantly recognises but has, until now, chosen to forget.
From a stage covered in Star Trek paraphernalia, watched over by a giant cardboard cut-out Leonard Nimoy, he delivers one of the most uplifting one-man shows on the Fringe – a piece that will obviously appeal to fans of the TV series and films (“Trekkies”), but also anyone who loves a well-told romantic comedy or has ever felt ostracised for being different.
While it’s a fictional story, performed by the phenomenally versatile Sam Donnelly (who’s playing three completely different, far more intense characters in Jethro Compton’s Frontier Trilogy at C nova), it’s inspired by Donnelly’s childhood and that of writer/director Jon Brittain (creator of the fabulous Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho, also at the Fringe).
A smartly structured narrative that moves between Gary’s childhood dealing with bullies, to his adult self struggling with the attention that comes from having a girlfriend who wears her fandom on her sleeve or – more accurately – pinned to her shirt, it’s about embracing who you are and daring to be different. Brittain’s writing is a delight; warm, funny and inspiring, and when Gary is finally, spectacularly and publicly, able to embrace his inner geek, it’s a victory for all of us who never quite felt like we fitted in.
Gilded Balloon (Venue 14) until 31 August
Published in The Scotsman on 22 August 2015
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