Thursday, 7 July 2016

EdFringe Review: Sally Phillips and Lily Bevan - Talking to Strangers at the Soho Theatre

Sally Phillips and Lily Bevan: Talking to Strangers 
Soho Theatre
Reviewed on Wednesday 6th July 2016

If, like myself, you are already a fan of Sally Phillips and Lily Bevan, it will come as no surprise to you that a show written and starring the duo is outrageously funny. Before jetting off to Edinburgh, Phillips and Bevan’s hysterically awkward play Talking to Strangers played a few performances at the Soho Theatre.

The piece consists of Phillips and Bevan either playing characters that ordinary British people will always do their best to avoid in any social situation, or ordinary British people forced into social situations that they would rather stick pins in their eyes than endure. 

The characters force the audience to watch the scenes unravel into the depths of awkward conversational topics. These topics included discussing your sex life, drawing your husbands penis and being forced into stepping in for a sick actress and performing the role of Catherine of Aragon (or, arrogant as Bevan’s character believed) to an eager audience of historians because you are just too damn polite to refuse. Oh god. 

Talking to Strangers is utterly charming from start to finish, but has the quick edge and wit that forces you to hoot with laughter when you least expect it. Yet you find yourself sympathising with some of these desperately lonely characters as they speak to a room full of strangers in search of some companionship. 

The highlight of the show is Bevan’s character Lucy, who makes the toe-curling awkward phone call to the ‘man from the night before’… and is left alone with his voicemail. With no other characters to control the ramblings of a hungover, awkward young woman, the character spirals into an eight-minute answerphone message which leaves the audience cackling with laughter (whilst also thinking, ‘thank god my best friend proofreads all of my hungover text messages’).

Overall Talking to Strangers  is wickedly funny and scarily relatable. The show left every audience member weak from laughter and regimented with the firm British belief that talking to strangers, unaccompanied, will always be a terrible idea. 

Reviewed by Lucy Beirne

Talking to Strangers runs at Assembly George Square Studios as part of this year's EdFringe between 15th and 21st August. Click here for tickets.

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