What a glorious way to start my fringe, a spy story, a top tier cast and some decent music to go with it. What’s not to like? Well, although Number, Please does display vast amounts of talent and energy, I’m afraid the production as a whole does suffer from several major points.
I have very few issues overall with this production, I did ultimately come away with a smile on my face having enjoyed the experience. My problem is, I’m not sure what I experienced. I found it very difficult to follow the narrative; spy stories are often complicated, and that’s perfectly fine. However, within the context of a one hour fringe show in which most audiences will visit on a whim. I do feel as if this particular story is over ambitious. There was a good chunk of time where I wondered if perhaps it was me being dim, however upon talking to my colleagues who also came to see the show, they were also none-the-wiser. This is no fault of the actors however, who display dazzling energy and enthusiasm. They are ultimately the reason that this show deserves praise.
The direction of this piece is superb, Becca Chadder is fiercely talented in this area. I particularly enjoyed the comical Scooby-Doo esc train chase scene. This was easily my highlight from the show. Along with this, the decision to make the cast members hold and essentially be animated pieces of the set is a masterstroke and certainly gives the show its own unique style.
Sadly however, although some jokes land, many fall flat and are very awkward to witness, alongside the confusing and at times unnecessary narrative, the show sadly is dragged down significantly. Having said all this the production shows great promise and I have no doubt that as their fringe run continues the show will get slicker and more polished with time. I will certainly make a point of returning as an average fringe punter later in their run.
Number, Please. by Paprichoo will run until 25th August at 16:50 daily (excl. 11th & 18th). Tickets are available from the Fringe Box Office.