Bread & Roses Theatre
20th June 2017
“Two-handed, multi-rolling farcical extravaganza”
You know you’re in for an interesting night when the ticket details state ‘audience may be handed fake limbs during this performance’ – so expect nothing less than a ‘slapstick meets impersonation‘ barrel of laughs from duo Elizabeth Eaton and Lydia Keating’s ‘Going AWOL’.
The performance highlights the adventures of two colleagues, Valerie Silverston and Nancy Upshaw who set out on a mission to dispose of several body parts belonging to their boss Douglas McDonnelly, after ‘accidently’ murdering him.
Valerie, the brains behind the idea (no pun intended) decides they must flee and so they sail, drive and cycle their way through all sorts of trouble.
The array of characters they meet on their journey, from the snooping French policeman to Fabio the Italian chef, leave the audience weeping with laughter and stunned by Eaton and Keating’s versatility.
One of the most humorous aspects of their show is the interaction with the audience, casually throwing fake limbs into the crowd, spraying water during their sailing trip and at one point even handing me a torch and asking me to ‘wave it around at the stage to create a searchlight effect’ whilst the characters escaped from the police. Rest assured, I obliged.
As well as a large amount of impressive ‘character hopping’, the play also includes a clever selection of props. During a particularly epic ‘trip through Italy’ where one of the deceased’s arms ends up in a big pot of spaghetti, the play suddenly transforms into a mini puppet show, complete with a toy-sized leaning tower of Pisa.
With all of the props displayed as part of the set, it isn’t difficult to find yourself searching the stage, wondering how each piece links to the next adventure. Little did I know that after spying a blue ukulele and assuming there would be a musical element, what I in fact witnessed was the character of Nancy using the instrument to compose an impromptu song to a bull named Steve, in an attempt to prevent being mauled. By this point in the play, nothing can shock you.
So do they get away with their plan to flee and hide the evidence…? What kind of trouble could they possibly get into next…?
Reviewed by Stephanie Legg
is at the Bread & Roses Theatre until 21st June.
The show will be at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe on the 4th August and 14th – 19th August.