Fringe Review: Martin Lingus @Rialto Theatre

Brian Butler May 8, 2018

On an empty stage save for a few orange crates, Martin Lingus jauntily relates his long and semi-successful series of conquests over women of all shapes, sizes, ages and sexual orientation.

CLIVE Marlowe as Martin also manages to convincingly portray his cynical dead mother and all the women in his life who have a very different view from Martin of their various relationships.

The running joke through Brighton writer Lorraine Mullaney’s tight script is that Martin, a former B and Q assistant, is more interested in the women’s houses than in them. He says he has a fine eye for architectural features and this together with his sexual awakening via a lesbian offers some humour. But not quite enough.

His mother has most of the best one-liners delivered with a kind of Corrie, fag-in-hand deadpan humour.

And to prove how good the one-liners are Martin chalks them up on the wall – “Give her your brightest smile”  being his favourite .

My favourite vignette is Martin being Pauline, the prim and proper librarian from the Welsh valleys. But along the way there’s a lot of variety – Nicole the closet lesbian, who teaches him that his tongue can be more effective as a sexual implement than his “pinky” – hence his surname.

In the end, there are a number of issues with the play – we need to like his rogueishness but we don’t; we need to believe he could pull all these partners but we don’t  and the climax is a kind of mental breakdown which leads implausibly to normality and fatherhood.

Still Clive pulls off an amazing feat of memory in the one-hour show, though he is not yet fully on top of the script.

Martin Lingus is at the Rialto Theatre 13 , 14, 27 and 28 May at various times.