Travesty (4 stars)

This article is from 2016


credit: Claire Haigh

Painful, gently funny look at a withering relationship

A couple of twentysomethings fall in love, and break up: that's this play in a nutshell. But Travesty is much cleverer and funnier than it sounds. Of course it is – Liam Williams wrote it.

You might know Williams from sketch trio Sheeps or his stand-up, for which he's had two Comedy Award nominations. This play – his first – is more drama than comedy. Ben and Anna have had sex a few times, before they tentatively and curiously embark on a relationship. Fast forward a year and they're arguing bitterly about her dancing with someone else, and wondering if they really make each other happy anymore.

In playing opposite gender roles too, Lydia Larson (as Ben) and Pierro Niel-Mee (as Anna) save Travesty from a hackneyed, heteronormative setting. You might initially stumble to remember who's playing who but, just as it should be, their gender quickly becomes irrelevant to the unfolding love story.

With shades of Aziz Ansari's Master of None, there's plenty of jokes in Travesty but it's at its strongest in its saddest moments. If you've ever had a drawn-out breakup, you'll recognise the pain in these conversations. It's not an original tale, and a couple of scenes could do with a trim, but it's a raw, honest and captivating hour.

Assembly George Square Studios, until 28 Aug (not 15), 5.30pm, £10–£11 (£8–£9).


  • 4 stars

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