Number, Please - Review
One of the great joys of the Fringe is picking a show at random, going to see it and really enjoying it. Whether it is the lack of expectation or the adventure of not knowing a single thing about it prior to viewing (something quite rare these days), it is an experience that I thoroughly enjoy.
Number, Please is a spy comedy set in post-WWII Britain. Sheila, a switchboard operator by day, becomes embroiled in a sinister nuclear plot. She has to fight off friend, foe and the occasional piece of set to try and make sense of what is happening around her.
The strength of this production lies mostly in how it uses its relatively large cast. No one is off stage for very long, representing a number of different characters ranging from the ridiculous to the touching. However, the actors also represent most of the set, a novel way of getting round the difficulties of performing at the Fringe. They kept up the energy on stage by reacting constantly, even when they were stage dressing, providing a number of laughs through exposition filled scenes.
The actors in general were fantastic, with a strong female lead backed up by some great comedic actors as well as fresh and fun direction. It is no surprise to me that a number of audience reviews already have mentioned how good the train chase scene is, both in terms of choreography and humour. It is worth it just for those glorious five minutes.
Occasionally you could argue that play may become a bit too self-referential, and I admit to not quite following the plot all the way through. But this is all covered over by witty dialogue delivered with commitment and skill.
This is a show with a lot of potential, some realised and some still to be explored. It is a perfect Fringe experience and one I would happily return to. As such, it gets a gannet on my rating. It's just a great show.