Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2014 Review: Last Christmas

Despite its seasonally inappropriate subject matter, Last Christmas manages to impress

Rating: ★★★★☆
Venue: Studio 5, Assembly Rooms

Photo courtesy of Dirty Protest

Photo courtesy of Dirty Protest

Now let’s address the first issue here brought on by the title of the play – it’s not Christmas. There are still heaven knows how many sleeps till Santa (not that that has stopped my mother from already buying and wrapping 70% of her presents). Going to see this play is a little like watching Love Actually in April, but it shouldn’t detract from what turned out to be a beautifully, poignant piece, relevant all year long.

Dirty Protest brings a one-man show, starring Sion Pritchard, with a powerful message to the people of Edinburgh. They are a Welsh theatre company that works with Welsh writers. Written by Mathew Bulgo and directed by Kate Wasserberg, the plot follows Welshman Tom on his return to Swansea from London for the Christmas festivities. Tom needs to come to terms with his past and the events of last Christmas in order to move on with his life. But despite a slightly sombre plot outline, Last Christmas was surprisingly witty, and its captivating script had the audience both welling up and laughing all the way through. Pritchard commanded the stage and for the only actor in the play, he held my attention throughout, a true testament to the quality of the script, the direction and the acting. The play builds into a dynamic conclusion, and creates a balance between humour and plot progression. It began with a rather uncomfortable pre-show with the actor walking across the stage and staring at the audience. In most shows at the Fringe, the audience are only let in 5 minutes beforehand so it did give an uncomfortable atmosphere to begin the production.

Catch Last Christmas from Aug 6-10, 12-17, 19-25 at 12pm. Tickets available here.

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