Hailing from Northwest England, Rascally Scoundrels have come to Prague with a well-rehearsed duo of plays. An efficient production, the plays employ the work of three actors for each of the six characters involved; a simple stage design using only chairs and acting blocks all tangled up in wool yarn and string. Distracting to look at, but obvious in it’s symbolism, highlighting a theme of bonding ties.
Briefly, the plays are about quarrelling family members, in this case, sisters. In the first play, ‘Blood’, by Alison Carr, the sisters deal with the death of their other sister. One is trying to move on while the other insists she sees the deceased in the heavens through her telescope. A quirky scenario that is funny at first until we realize that maybe we shouldn’t be laughing.
A little tedious and boring toward the end, the highlight is Faye Greenwell’s manic, up and down performance as the slightly crazy, astronomer sister. The second play, ‘Money’, by Rosalind Wyllie, holds our attention (and laughs) right through to the finish. Witty and dry, it is about a woman who asks her sister to have her baby, not because she can’t but because it kind of grosses her out. The play took an unfortunate and unbelievable turn toward the end, however, that dragged it out made me leave their world.
The redeeming qualities of these two plays is Wyllie’s sense of humor which connected with the audience fully using lines and awkward moments that always teetered on the edge of being just a little wrong. The actors are due a hand for their versatility in playing dangerously similar roles and still managing to distinguish them. Taking what she had to work with and milking the best moments of the plays, Degna Stone deserves a cap off for her directorial debut.
All in all, a high point of this year’s Fringe.