Alex Stone is a top property lawyer at Preston & Gates, but when she gets an attack of conscience over the ethics of a major deal she finds herself suspended – and the only thing she can do is head back to the home town she was so determined to escape ten years ago, L’il Thatchford. Her childhood friend Daisy is in trouble; having been accused of the attempted murder of her journalist husband Dan, she’s about to stand trial and Alex’s other childhood friend Richard (the local barrister) is prosecuting. Described as a cross between Hot Fuzz and Legally Blonde, this courtroom comedy is at the Pleasance Dome’s 10Dome for the duration of the Fringe.
Jon Gracey’s show features a cast of top Fringe comedians (Mandy Dassa, Lucy Farrett, Emily Lloyd-Saini, Chazz Redhead, Katherine Rodden & Thom Tuck) and sets the audiences up as the jury once it reaches the courtroom. It’s a little clunky to begin with, where we’re introduced to Alex’s life in London, but once the action moves to Thatchford it starts to properly get going – and the gags land a little better. Obviously it’s not trying to be a deep & meaningful piece, rather it goes all-out to give the audience a good time – whilst retaining a coherent plot to frame the entertainment.
One of the great things about casting comedians is their ability to think on their feet if something goes wrong; I’m presuming that this was the case with part of the courtroom set seeming to have a mind of its own. Thom Tuck as the judge gave us some great ad libs, and even attempted to fix it himself with his gavel (much to everyone’s amusement). Something that I always love to see in a show is a bit of corpsing – it’s safe to say I was not disappointed here!
Chazz Redhead’s brief stint as Thatchford’s elderly rickshaw driver is certainly memorable, and Mandy Dassa is impressively versatile as three different witnesses in the trial (Violet’s statement is out of the blue and very, very funny). Katherine Rodden leads well as Alex; she provides some stability & focus to the story, but is no less entertaining. Thom Tuck steals the show in his role as the judge, however, holding up instructions for the audience (getting us to gasp and mutter) and moving his wig away from his ear so he can hear properly. Almost everything he did elicited laughter, and the whole set-fixing saga was a definite winner.
My verdict? If you’re looking for a rib-tickling diversion, then this is just the show for you – it’s lawyer time.
Courtroom Play: A Courtroom Play runs at Pleasance Dome (10Dome) until 27 August 2018 (12.25pm, 55 min). Tickets are available online or from the box office.