Tabloids and the press in general can be comical oft times with their extra agent headlines and desperate attempts for a story. Combine this topic with an absurd plot about a princess kidnapped and trapped in a Portaloo, by two builders-turned-kidnappers who are in conversation with two mismatched journalists, well…. you honestly wouldn’t know what to expect walking in to the room.
I must say, A Royal Flush had me in stitches at multiple points throughout. The piece is so well written and is a true testament to modern British comedy. It’s witty, perfectly timed, and takes turns that flip back on themselves leaving you guessing at every line.
The play is sort of divided into two, with Christopher and Simon (Lewis Lauder and Calum Ferguson) playing the divergent journalists on one side of the stage, with the bumbling kidnappers Lee and Andy (Alex Card and Joe Walsh) on the other side. There is occasional interaction between them through Skype calls on their laptops. The dynamics within both pairs are completely comical and perfectly balanced by the actors. Ferguson is hilarious as the try-guy, socially awkward journalist who has been a bit of a barnacle to the company and won’t accept that the media is widely being taken over by the Internet. His ‘cool-guy’ tendencies are perfect for his character, even down to small things such as referring to one of the kidnappers as “Lazer Claws” instead of “Lazer Claw” is just a small detail that perfects this character. Lauder on the other hand is the serious new boss, yet his naturalism in his passive dismissals towards Simon are extremely comical.
Card and Walsh also balance each other throughout the piece exceptionally well. Their panic in the fact that they have so much potential power yet pretty much no understanding for what they are doing makes the audience laugh out loud on multiple occasions. Their stupidity isn’t patronising, but makes the characters themselves, albeit criminals, rather lovable. I actually found myself slightly rooting for these characters to win the ransom money at points due to the pure humanistic qualities that they included.
Towards the end we also see Jenny (Kate Foley-Scott) as the “princess”. Without giving away any spoilers, Kate plays the part extremely well, and although her character is developed in the performance in terms of the weight of the part, I actually wanted to see more of her.
That being said, it is true that all of the cast are highly comparable to other theatrical roles and it would be a shock not to see them involved in something in the future. A Royal Flush is definitely to be considered for a tense but extremely comical piece and should not be missed.
A Royal Flush is playing theSpace on the Mile until August 26 (even dates only).. For more information and tickets, seeThe Edinburgh Festival website.