Travesty is performing at Assembly George Square Studios 5 at 17.30pm.
This honest and naturalistic piece of new writing by stand-up and sketch comedian Liam Williams aims to assess the nature of 21st-century romance, in all its messy, hard-to-define confusion.
The play is set in a bedroom and has only two characters, a couple at various stages in their relationship. A simple and rather conventional premise apart from the fact that a man, Pierro Niel-Mee plays the girl Anna, and a girl, Lydia Larson plays the Ben. This gender swap could have ended up farcical or excessively ostentatious, but it isn’t. The actors handle the swap with precision and delicacy, capturing the body language and mannerisms of the other gender. There are many things about men and women, particularly regarding physicality, that we take for granted and that the actors were able to point out, just through imitation. Whether these are inherent or learnt behaviours is not commented on, by the representation alone justifies interest.
A lot is done with very little in terms of set and costume. The set is just a double bed whose covers are changed to show the two characters’ different bedrooms and the scene changes are subtle, done by the characters and manage not to break the mood at all. The costume helps remind you of the actor’s assumed genders, which are a slight challenge to get one’s head around. Compared to a lot of Fringe shows the personal performance is actually very well suited to its intimate venue.
Anyone who has been in a long-term relationship is likely to recognise many of the small moments in Travesty. The play doesn’t bring the audience to new conclusions but merely depicts an almost perfect reflection of modern couples. The acute acting and directing deserve a huge amount of credit, as does the script’s attention to detail.