Edinburgh Festival – Sally Philips/Lily Bevan – Talking to Strangers

2016SALLYPI_AAUIt is testament to the professionalism of Sally Philips, having earlier in the day sustained an injury to her leg, she was still able to perform in a show that was as tightly written as this one. Best known for her work on Alan Patridge, Smack the Pony,Miranda, radios Clare in the Community, and the Bridget Jones films the seasoned actress Phillips, and Lily Bevan, from the film Sweet Revenge, and Doctor Who provided an evening of monologues, that ranged from detailed character studies, to more studied storytelling. So we meet a Yoga instructor,with a strange line in talk, and stating the obvious in a new age way, a Marriage Counsellor who is a bit to pre-occupied with how the body works, a Swedish Scientist,a health guru who claims that men like hair, because it reminds them of spaghetti, and who has her face ironed twice a month, a museum guide, forced into playing the part of Catherine of Aragon,a Falconer who has lost her falcon, and many other characters. Many of the monologues are of a medium length, lasting between five and ten minutes, and whilst a certain debt is owed to Alan Bennett, there is very little that is comfortable or tidy about the scenes. They are jagged, and well performed, but there are no resolutions to the scenes, such as in the case of a Lion neurologist who during a train journey realises that she has wasted the best part of her life doing a job that doesn’t really matter, or a cancer support group, whose number die rapidly after having a phone call from Bette Midler. You wil not be able to hear The Wind Beneath My Wings in the same way again. Like all sketch shows, some of the material is a bit patchy, but in the hands of such personable performers and writers as Sallly Phillips and Lily Bevan it is still carried with aplomb.

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