Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: Derby Day, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Sally Stott.
Sexist, prejudiced, bigoted, drunk: there isn’t really much you can say that’s positive about the three Ballard brothers, who we feel are about to break into a chant of “USA, USA, USA” at any moment. Following their father’s death they’re having a day at the horse races in Arkansas, tormenting their waitress, Becky – a lone voice of sanity – by swigging cans, downing shots and transparently trying to seduce her.
Like the horses, Samuel Brett Williams’ pacey script gets off to a good start, but as the men’s gambling luck runs out, a series of increasingly melodramatic revelations and confrontations take things into the realm of farce.
However, it’s good to see something at the Fringe that’s performed with such energy and all-American pizazz. The performers give it their all and there are some spectacular fight sequences. Becky gives a great speech condemning the men’s throwaway destruction, but a play that could have been an interesting insight into male bravado ultimately dissolves into a series of physical fights which, exhilarating as these are, don’t delve deeply enough into the psyche of these highly dysfunctional men.
Gilded Balloon (Venue 14) until 31 August / listings
Published in The Scotsman on 26 August 2015
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