There is something very pleasantly Fringe-y about the idea of doing a character show in which the main character never appears. The fact that it works so nicely is merely a bonus.
This debut show from Funny Women Award winner Freya Slipper tells the story of an unassuming middle-aged woman who is suddenly chosen for a manned mission to Mars. Whilst the premise may seem far flung, Slipper manages to ground it wonderfully by instead playing a range of characters from Linda’s everyday life to tell her tale.
Whilst there is a discrepancy in the quality of the characters, when it works it works beautifully, such as with an overly flirty librarian, or a protest leader chanting for free soup. Some characters do slip into the realm of slightly questionable accents (see: a fitness class instructor who struggles with the English language), but for the most part this is both clever and engaging, whilst still managing to raise strong laughs throughout. Slipper has a wonderful ability of completely transforming herself between roles, to the point where it almost feels like there is a full cast, and there are moments of beautiful audience interaction.
The ending, I felt, let the show down slightly, suddenly attempting to force a message which had been quietly brewing throughout the show. You feel the writer did not trust that the audience’s ability to pick up on it, so felt the need to sledgehammer us with it at the close. However, the ambiguous conclusion to the narrative does work nicely, and overall this is a very enjoyable, very Fringe-y show.
“Linda” runs until the 27th of August – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/linda