Fringe review: Sailor Beware

Sailor Beware
Sailor Beware
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IF the Fringe has a heart, it’s physically a fair hike from Saughtonhall Reformed Church. It’s soul, though, may not be so far away from this cheerfully old-fashioned production by the church drama group, of Sailor Beware, a farce first performed in 1955.


The set is the living room, or nest, of the Hornetts. We join them on the eve of the wedding of daughter Shirley to sailor Albert Tufnell. The undisputed queen is Emma, a matriarchal template for mother-in-law routines from a bygone comedic age.

Husband Henry seeks refuge in his ferrets while vulnerable sister- in-law Edie (Betty Meston, who apparently first appeared in Sailor Beware as Shirley’s racier pal Daphne in 1959) is treated almost as a scullery maid.

Albert, accompanied by best man Carnoustie Bligh (cue a weirdly post-modern bit of fourth wall-breaking Scottish jokes at the expense of the only person on the stage with a fixed accent) has second thoughts about the marriage and... never mind.

Spoiler alert – it all works out in the end. The half-time raffle affirms that this is a world away from sponsor logos and star bars. Hairs might reasonably be split over wandering accents and the odd fluffed line, but there is charm in being swept away to a different time.

Until Saturday