Although it gets off to a shaky start, Maria 1968 is a whimsical silly meta-theatrical delight. The laughs are loud, frequent and absurd. If the opening feels a little too much like an episode of Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, once it gets going it soon redeems itself.
Noah is a writer who has yet to finish anything beyond ‘Jeremy the Wizard’. He writes – when he writes – on a typewriter, because that means you can’t make mistakes. Unfortunately, however, it doesn’t mean your girlfriend can’t leave you. Plunged into self-pity, Noah tries to throw himself into his work, somewhat hampered by his best friend’s incessant tales about ducks. As his despair deepens, he gets more wrapped up in the world he has created – a hapless tale of three pals stranded in Greece and for some reason in 1968, who are fast learning what it means to sleep with local girls whose brothers are many, angry, and armed.
Fact and fiction become convoluted as characters and creators begin to trip over each other in what is a rollicking good hour of fast-paced comedy. The dynamic between the characters in the ‘real’ world is not always quite pitch perfect, and some of the punchlines at times seem strained, but it’s an excellent script based around a simple but brilliant conceit, and for the most part they pull it off very well. Surreal, silly, and incessantly funny, Maria, 1968 is a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon at the theatre.
**** – 4/5 stars
Maria, 1968 is playing at C venues until 27 August as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. For more information and tickets, see the Edinburgh Fringe website.