Company: Overcoat Productions
Venue: Underbelly – White Belly
Date: 24 Aug ’07
Next up on my tour of Cambridge’s presence at the Fringe was Coat, starring three people, at least one of whom I am going to be working for as a sound designer next term. It’s just as well that I thought it was pretty good, then! The acting was strong, the script good, and the production inventive on a small budget. Each of the three actors had several little “solos” where they got to shine as performers, frequently getting a warm round of applause at the end of a particular monologue. The dialogue was snappy, the performance even more so – perhaps slightly more than would be ideal, probably the result of an attempt to get the show’s running time down as required without cutting it?
Essentially, the play flicks between two storylines, one based on The Overcoat (one of Gogol’s Petersburg Tales), the other a contemporary romantic comedy type thing. This seemed to work pretty well, both stories fitting together in tone if not particularly in subject matter; the show’s website claims Gogol’s adage that “if you look at something funny for long enough, it eventually becomes sad” as the driving force for the show, and if so it manages what it sets out to do. My only real reservation was that the play felt as if it might have a slightly more defined message of some kind, but never actually made one apparent, choosing instead to end on a glib non-message, which felt a bit disappointing. That doesn’t much diminish the show, though, since the writing is generally very accomplished.