Laundry Boy

5 Stars

*****

What an enjoyable experience! Philip Stokes, who wrote and directs his own comedy drama, has come up with a winner. The five members of the cast give flawless performances; the comedy is very funny and the drama is very gripping.

Terry Orange (Lee Bainbridge), in his late 20’s, runs a laundry he has inherited from his dead father. He has become a complete loner having no close relationships with anyone. His only interest is comic books or ‘graphic novels’. In his solitary existence, he creates a fantasy world making up and drawing his own stories.

His isolation is disturbed by the chance appearance of Melanie (Kate Daley) when he was having a bit of sexual fun with a hoover. She was the girl during his school days he had a crush on but they had lost contact. He just about manages to explain the hoover incident away.

Reality gives way to fantasy as the hoover morphs into Hoover Girl who is always available for sex. Much of comedy throughout the play comes from this character played by Hayley Shillito.

The fantasy intensifies as Perfect Girl (Kate Daley) dressed as a schoolgirl appears. Looking remarkably like Melanie she symbolises his unattainable female. Words pour out of her mouth in an American accent, combining encyclopaedic knowledge and teasing Terry with pornographic imagery.

She is followed by Beelzebubbles (Stephanie Sweeting) in a sexy, low cut, scarlet cat suit and brandishing a whip. She is anybody’s if the price is right. The tone becomes darker with voiceovers from his dead father and the final character in his head appears (Aiden Ross). It is himself as a teenager. By degrees, the complexity of his troubled childhood is revealed.

With all 5 characters now on stage, the tension builds and builds as Terry is faced with making choices. The final scene powerfully reveals his decision.

Reviewed by Ben

Underbelly Cowgate/Big Belly: 61a

4 to 28 August 2011 (not 15)

13.00 – 14.15

Fringe Programme Page Number: 274

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