In theory at least, this show is the perfect piece for the attention-deficit fast-paced times in which we live – it takes the ‘Guardian’ newspaper columns of Craig Taylor which describe miniature fictional encounters between ordinary folk all around Britain and dramatises them. The three performers transform themselves into all of these characters, of all ages, social classes and accents. It’s a great challenge, although at times it can just feel like an extended acting showcase for any would-be agents looking on. The other aspect that slightly puzzled me was the opening which started in the foyer in amongst the waiting throng before we were led round the corner into the upstairs of a George Street shop.
While promenade shows can be a great way to experience theatre, this feels like a missed opportunity – something tacked-on and gimmicky, rather than essential to the piece. Nevertheless, despite an initial flatness, most of the scenes exhibit entertaining characters in amusing and identifiable situations, whether that is a job interview in Durham or a late night kebab shop in Portsmouth. Of the three performers, Pauline Turner and Mark McDonnell really excel – I particularly enjoyed Turner’s lonely old woman (shades of Julie Walters’ Mrs Overall but delivered with real pathos) and McDonnell’s creepy Mancunian animal rights-baiter. If at times it feels slightly less than the sum of its parts, it’s a diverting and amusing watch which may not be particularly challenging but provides plenty of harmless fun.