Brian Butler August 14, 2018

An Englishman, an Irishman and a far from certain Scotsman meet in a kind of no-man’s land.

THEY aren’t waiting for Godot, though it feels like it – but they are waiting for a punchline. You see, they may be in a joke – but they’re not sure.

So clown-like, Sylvester McCoy, as the Irishman, leads then into a large number of scenarios to create the one essential of a joke …….. surprise !

And during the next hour they go through a whole number of rituals to try and find out who they are, where they are and why they are there. And if they are somewhere, is there a somewhere else?

Their questions are partly answered when a screwed up ball of paper with writing on it, is thrown on stage from that somewhere else. The quest then is to make sense of the words on the paper.

It’s absurdist drama of a very gentle kind, but sometimes it feels like playwright Dan Freeman is lecturing to us about the nature of humour or even the art of being on a stage as an actor in a drama.

All three performers are outstanding in their comic timing and quick repartee. They constantly spark off each other and keep the pace going at high-speed. Sylvester’s companion in arms John Bett as the irascible, cynical Englishman and American actor Robert Picardo as the dubious Scot are full of energy and resourcefulness, covering over thin  periods in the dialogue.

In the end, as their song and dance finale says “Sing and the music will come.”

A thoroughly bewildering journey nowhere in particular but with tons of laughs and puzzlement along the way.

A Joke runs at the Assembly Rooms ballroom, Edinburgh on various dates till August 26.

Review by Brian Butler