Saturday, September 30

Victor, Vi and the Volvo – Paradise Green (Vaults)

Victor, Vi and the Volvo, is a humorous, powerful, and endlessly real original show. Writer and director Sam Milnes has created a play that wouldn’t feel out of place on the West End. Set both in the present day, and in the memories of Victor and Vi, it tells their story from the day they met, through to their efforts to raise their son Callum.

The most impressive quality of this play is just how real all the characters feel. Throughout the runtime, there are endless relatable moments that make you feel like Victor, Vi and Callum could all easily exist. Victor and Vi’s uncertainty of whether to discuss with Callum a condom they found in a bin, and his subsequent embarrassment, was a particular highlight. These moments often allow for very real comedy. Milnes hasn’t tried to create witty one-liners but allows for the humour to be derived from the personalities of the characters. These moments bring levity to a show that doesn’t shy away from some of the darker moments of life. But I suppose that’s what makes the show feel so real. In life there are moments of humour and happiness, but there are equally moments of pain and sadness. Milnes’ script encompasses all these ups and downs while also managing to tell a compelling story.

Of course, a play can only ever be as good as its actors, and Ben Burgin (Victor), Helen Kapil (Vi) and Ethan Rodmell (Callum) do not disappoint. They are all totally believable in their roles, and weave between comedy, romance, and tragedy with impressive ease. There were a couple of line slip-ups, but nothing that derailed the show.  They all rise to the challenge admirably when the last ten minutes or so of the play calls for them to deal with extreme emotions. I won’t spoil the ending, but Rodmell especially has to give an intense monologue to say the least, and he provides a powerhouse performance.  My one issue with the script arises in these last ten minutes. I felt the whole sequence, including the monologues from each character, just went on a little too long. Perhaps a policy of ‘less is more’ would have allowed the impact of the scenes to remain high, whilst not having to explain every emotion each character is feeling. Sometimes it’s better to allow the imagination to do some of the work.

I left the show feeling deeply affected by what I’d just seen. Victor, Vi and the Volvo is a must watch at the Fringe (as long as you bring some tissues).

Reviewer: Ben Pearson

Reviewed: 7th August 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.