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Carl Hiaasen's

Lucky You

 

Adapted for stage by Francis Matthews and Denis Calandra

Directed by Francis Matthews

 

Assembly @ Assembly Hall, Edinburgh

 

Until 25th August

2;15pm (1hr 30mins)

 

 

Couzens

A review byKirsty Harris for EXTRA! EXTRA!

 

Lucy You presents an image of American culture and its personality types that we all familiar with. The well-endowed blonde waitress, the racist white red necks, the born again Christians singing hallelujahs and seeing the  face of Jesus in paving stones. The cast bring such energy to this performance that it is difficult not to be swept along in the stylised fun of this episodic thriller.

A woman wins half of a 28 million dollar lottery draw, the holders of the other ticket decide that their share is simply not enough an set out to rob their counterpart intending to claim the total pot of cash. These hollering, swearing ruffians represent the low life one loves to hate. The crude talk, the repulsive mannerisms. The performers seem to revel in just how disgusting they can make themselves. This works up to a point but after a while wears a little thin. There is a difference between heightened amusing silliness and overplayed character comedy.

All the cast play a number or roles that have distinctive characteristics and it is lovely to see performers have such fun with their work as they throw all their energy into each part. However, with such heightened characterisation it is difficult to relate to the characters and I found myself drawn towards the romantic leads as they were the easiest to feel empathy for.

The set (designed by Leslie Travers) uses typical Floridian colours; turquoise, candy pink as well as recognisable features evoke a sense of the laidback, affluent lifestyle. The use of a huge ripped sign and multiple TV sets warps this image and gives a hint to the darker material n the piece.

Like the Cohen brothers film Fargo, Lucky You mixes the shiny happy smiles of wholesome America with less savoury matters. More of the sinister would give this piece weight but unfortunately it slips into a ridiculous send up of bible-belt racism that lacks direction.

The company deliver the text with fluidity, sometimes breaking it up by talking in the third person about themselves or interrupting with relevant words. This works well and gives Lucky You a sense of cohesion, although, this performative tightness lessens the comic effect somewhat as any feeling of spontaneity is lost.

The best features of the story are the darkest or the most ridiculous, at one point some turtles are purported to have had their shells painted with the faces if Christian saints and at another a faulty 'weeping' statue of the Virgin Mary spurts water into the audience. These things embrace the silly and mock accepted elements of modern culture. The main question I am struggling with after this enjoyable, buoyant performance is “What is it trying to say?” The funniest comedies are those that have a wider social, political or historical point of reference and Lucky You feels like it is trying to say something, I an just not sure what.

 

 

 

 

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