Thursday, February 29

The Complications of Being Ernest – Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Take a famous Oscar Wilde play, throw in some actors with personal problems, questionable acting ability and over-large egos, perform the whole thing via Zoom and what do you have? An absolutely hilarious hour of entertainment written by Kieron Rees and brought to you by The Unknown Theatre Company.

The entire play is done live via Zoom and you watch it via Zoom but with your own camera turned off and the sound muted.

We join the actors a few minutes before the play starts and unbeknown to them, we have all been let in out of the Zoom waiting room so we see and hear all their issues with each other. Jen and Ren (Vicky Davies and Michelle Kay) are scrapping over Ben (Harri Herniman) and Shaun, the Director (David Millard) is a man on the edge of a nervous breakdown.

Rebecca (Kimberley Littlechild) is in charge of tech but her laptop with all the sound effects and scene fades has broken – so she provides all the sound effects vocally and the scene fades are handwritten on pieces of paper held by her (often upside down).

Sarah (Bethan Davies) has been called upon late in the day to stand in for someone. In all her scenes, she is too close to the camera, so we only see her nostrils and mouth – with lipstick on her teeth – plus she sings all her lines in a flat monotone, much to the bewilderment of all the actors.

If you like ‘The Show That Goes Wrong’, you will love this. I laughed very loudly, very often. This is an innovative and excellent use of the Zoom platform to stage a show and a great way of ensuring as many people as possible have the opportunity to see it. It is well written and so funny. Full use was made of all the usual Zoom problems that most people will be familiar with – the picture freezing, someone using the chat facility to send a catty message about someone else…and sending it to everyone, including the person being discussed….it goes on. There were lots more hilarious moments but to list them all would spoil the surprise – so get a ticket, settle down on your sofa and prepare to be entertained!

Reviewer: Nicky Lambert

Reviewed: 19th August 2021

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★