Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally (3 stars)

Iillicit student-teacher love affair told via texts

Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally

credit: Russ Rowland

You'd be forgiven for thinking Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally is a raucous farce about the family drunk. And at times, it is – but these are light relief moments from a play about an illicit student-teacher love affair, staged experimentally by New York-based theatre company One Year Lease Theater.

Having opened in NYC in 2015, the company travelled to the Fringe this year where they heard audiences would be a good fit. Compared to the production though, the plot is rather plain: it sees Red McCray and his algebra teacher fall for each other, as both attempt to remedy their contemporary states of exile.

The six-strong ensemble recount the affair in texts – 'the antsy Morse code of Red's fingers typing' and the 'buzz buzzes' of night-time meet-ups. These fragments of dialogue are paired with a physical production. Blots of colour (like Red's red jacket) distinguish individual characters in tides of choreographed movement, and props are integrated for more dramatic moments (like nighttime car rides).

It is a touching piece, but the trouble is plays like Mark Ravenhill's pool (no water) get one up on it with a more inventive plot and tighter, more expansive choreography to tell it with.

Pleasance Courtyard, until 28 Aug (not 15, 22), £9–£12 (£8–£11).

Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally

  • 3 stars

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