Reviewed by Isabelle Gius.
I went into Don’t Be Terrible, a black comedy written and directed by Ellen Waddell and Oliver Milburn, cider in hand, expecting an hour of late-night stand-up. I was pleasantly surprised, however, to experience a play about comedy and love. Oblivious nice guy Steve (Daniel Cech-Lucas) enlists cynical comedian Alice (Elly Condron) to teach him to be funny in order to win back his suddenly distant girlfriend. Chaos ensues.
The show used the small space, appropriately named Bunker One, extremely well. Despite (or because of?) the scarce audience on the night that I went, the actors interacted with us in clever ways and made us feel like we were part of the story. The vibe was warm and friendly. The show shifted between stand-up and theatrical scenes with ease, and the minimal set, props, and lighting enhanced things without being distracting.
The acting was great, but it wasn’t quite enough to make up for characters and plot which sometimes seemed one-dimensional. Without giving things away, the course of the story was somewhat predictable, and Alice and Steve were little more than their stereotypical tropes – comedian who can’t form relationships, hopelessly boring businessman. That said, Don’t Be Terrible was funny, heartfelt, and dark in turns. It was different than anything else I saw this Fringe, it interrogated comedy in interesting ways, and it was thoroughly entertaining.
Don’t Be Terrible runs at Pleasance Bunker One at 23:00 until 26th August.