Life is ‘more grey than black and white’ in Alan Harris’ comedy one hander Sugar Baby set in Fairwater, South Wales. Marc (Alex Griffin-Griffiths) bounds on to stage in pure ecstasy, a typical Welsh jack-the-lad just wanting to do what’s best for his Dad who owes local loan shark Oggy £6,000.
Marc guides us through the highs and lows of being a small time South Walian drug dealer. Life isn’t easy when everyone in town knows the ghosts that lie in your cupboard and six grand is more than just a sum of money it’s the chance to get out of Wales and start afresh. When an old school mate Lisa comes back to Cardiff it only makes things more knotty for poor Marc.
Griffin-Griffiths’ creates the multitude of characters inhabiting Fairwater seamlessly, guiding us through the plot with a cheeky improv touch. His Welsh lilt warms the audience instantly, it’s melodic providing a much needed balm to the exhilarating madness in store for Marc.
Commanding the script with ease, Griffin-Griffiths quickly has the audience in the palm of his hand like soft putty. Catherine Paskell’s direction is simple yet effective, it feels as if Marc is talking to us directly from his living room rather than a bare stage.
The writing is at times surreal, like when a bronze statue of a seal comes to life and acts as Marc’s conscience. There is however a biting reality to the piece that results in a brutal consequence. Hope and a chance to escape a working class life burns stronger than the weed Marc is selling on the streets. Don’t think for one minute though that Harris has written a tragic tale of Welsh life, love and pride outweigh any feelings of melancholy. Marc proclaims ‘I loves my father and I loves Fairwater’ a line that broadcasts a deep sense of Welsh nationalism.
This Welsh comedy is refreshing and is crucial for putting Wales on the map for creating current, punchy new writing. Debuting at the Fringe, I’m excited for where Sugar Baby goes next, it’s not one to miss. 4/5
Review written by Niall Hunt.
Sugar Baby is currently showing at the Roundabout (Summerhall) until Sunday 27th August 2017 as part of this year’s Edinburgh Festival. For more information on the production, visit here…
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