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Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh

Just when you think you haven’t been treated to enough silliness at the festival, you find yourself in the basement of Roxy Assembly watching Jamie Wood’s bonkers and joyful homage to Yoko Ono and John Lennon. His opening manifesto for what is to unfold includes, ‘No cynicism’, ‘No taking advantage of John Lennon’s Death’ and absolutely ‘No cheap laughs’. One out of 3 isn’t bad, for there’s not a whiff of cynicism to be had in his tangentially strung together brainchild.

Taking direction from Yoko Ono’s meditational Art Instructions, Wood invites members of the audience to partake in such activities as cutting off parts of his clothes and taking the opportunity to touch the people around you in a darkened auditorium. It edges on the dangerous – I mean who trusts a member of the public to approach you with scissors or hammer a nail into a wooden heart pressed to your chest? – but he lulls us into a child like trust with his authentically warm positivity. Testimony to this is the guy who volunteers himself for the ‘celebration of glorious, uncomfortable intimacy’, undressing and dressing with Wood inside a duvet whilst being probed about the first time he fell in love.

O No! tickles out of you a variety of different laughs, from the nervous giggle to the thigh slapping guffaw. Cleverly and sincerely, Wood also makes space for the material to be really quite moving. The recording of his own mother’s reflections on love and life is deeply poignant and the answers he illicits from within the duvet are delicately teased out, giving us the privilege of sharing in this intimacy.

The set and the props are intentionally makeshift and wittily childlike. This fits perfectly with the show’s ramshackle and almost whimsical nature, climaxing brilliantly in an audience-led orchestra of bird whistles and car horns. In the moments where the tangents wander off too far and I think he’s lost me, the Master of Ceremonial Madness brings me back in with something delightful and wonderfully silly. Go on, treat yourself.

  • One Man Show
  • Written and Performed by Jamie Wood
  • Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh
  • Until 31 August 2015
  • Review by Kate Mounce
  • 24 August 2015

About The Author

Reviewer (UK)

Kate is a performer/director who studied at the London International School of Performing Arts (LISPA). She has produced and directed a variety of fringe productions, including Glass-Eye Theatre’s ‘The City and Iris’ for Edinburgh Fringe 2010 and Theatre of Inspiration’s bi-monthly scratch night PHYSICAL. Currently, she is working on her first solo clown show for Edinburgh Fringe 2015. Since a wee thing, she has written short stories, song lyrics and poetry, of varying quality, and was even published in a Reader’s Digest anthology with a piece about the death of her first hamster. Reviewing for Plays To See combines two of her primary loves.

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