LIFE has gone downhill for Ross (Andy Gray) and Graham (Grant Stott). The middle-aged men find themselves alone, living in grim, adjoining bedsits that are overseen by a brutal landlady. But a shared passion for the music and glitz of Shirley Bassey sees the two men form a dubious alliance, and they set off on a quest to find the women of their dreams.
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It’s a story that, on the face of it, is as simple as the set. With little more than two beds, some wigs, a couple of chairs, a bench and a newspaper kiosk, they take this unadorned foundation and turn it into something more.
It’s a task that they manage admirably.
Much of the success of this production is down to the writing of Philip Meeks. But it’s the delivery by two remarkable talents that brings the whole thing to life.
As they embark on a series of internet dating disasters and speed dating events, things move from mildly funny to uproariously hilarious. Gray plays his character to perfection, and Stott is wonderful as a gangling, glaiket misfit.
But all is not as it seems. The actors embark on a spectacular roller coaster of emotions and, as the heart-rending backstory unfolds, the laughs subside, replaced by a pathos that hits so hard you can almost hear the sniffles. A truly remarkable switch in tempo.
Then, just when you think you understand what’s going on, it all takes off at high speed in a surreal and dazzling display of comic genius. This emotional gear change makes the farce element gut-burstingly funny.
Make no mistake; Gray and Stott’s delivery – in gesture and spoken lines – is as tight as a rusted wing nut. They are perfectly suited to a tale that produces gales of laughter one moment, and poignant silence the next.
Entertaining in the extreme.