Edinburgh Fringe Review: Reality Chokes

25 Aug

*****

Punk rockers don’t die, they just put on weight, have midlife crises and wish they were 19 again. That’s the premise of Al Gregg and David Schaal’s new play which drops in on the reunion of ageing London punk band Sonic Generation, a group who haven’t played together for decades but who have been summoned by Plod (Lloyd Morris) for old times sake.

As the boorish, sexist and semi-racist crew reacquaint themselves with each other, mutual distrust the one thing they have in common, the real reason for the gathering becomes clear. Will it take a tragic event (or two) to bring them together again?

Right from its opening breaking-the-fourth-wall address to the audience, the cast of Reality Chokes seem to revel in the fact they are mere feet away from their public.

Despite their characters’ setbacks and disappointments, the cast imbue them with a feeling of vitality throughout, bouncing off each other with one-liners that constantly hit the mark.

While there’s nothing intrinsically new about the idea of a band trying to re-form, there are enough three dimensional performances here to draw the audience into the drama.

Al Gregg and Matthew Ward, as Dan and Rob respectively, are particularly effective as the ageing love rivals while Lizzie Stables adds a touch of glamour as Tricia.

Throw in some bursts of live music, a stuffed Spiderman and the feeling that these characters could probably sustain their own six-part comedy series, and you’ve got something special.

Never mind the rest of the bollocks this Fringe, London’s still calling if you just know where to look.

Reality Chokes, New Town Theatre, George Street, 10.15pm, until 30 August, £9

Review first published on pinkpaper.com

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