- Anahit Behrooz
- 20 August 2019
An uneven bake of a tragi-comedy
Sue Perkins. Author, comedian, host of The Great British Bake Off, and – in the world of In PurSUEt– the object of one woman's fanatical obsession. Even though the protagonist of In PurSUEt insists that she's fine, the life-sized cut outs and framed pictures signal a precariousness that becomes a much broader exploration of desperation, validation, and addiction.
Performer Eleanor Higgins impressively shoulders the whole show, her character vacillating between erratic self-assuredness and frustrated self-loathing as she recounts her devolving obsession with Sue to her therapist-audience. In PurSUEt hits all the expected notes – Brexit and Boris Johnson jokes, comedic existentialism, Sandi Toksvig references – all told with a quick-fire vivacity that is infectiously amusing. Yet the jokes feel by and large too easy, too familiar, too neat, and as Higgins' awkward encounters with Sue mount, it's not entirely certain if the audience is meant to be laughing at or with her.
In PurSUEt tells a fundamental story about addiction and depression, yet, much as its humour fails to push boundaries, its engagement with these issues is too simple to do them adequate justice. Part comedy, part exploration of desire, part examination of mental health, In PurSUEt is admirable in its ambition, but does not quite pass the showstopper challenge.
theSpace @ Niddry Street, run ended.