Binge Fringe Magazine

REVIEW: The Seagull (Not That One), SKELF Theatre Co., Prague Fringe 2023 ★★★★☆

5, 6, 7, 8… Taking the namesake of The Seagull is a bold move, but one that draws the attention of audiences when glancing at a flyer or a poster. However, the uniqueness of the fact that this clearly isn’t The Seagull people are familiar with, takes initial interest and throws the audience into an engaging piece of original theatre.

Meet Fraser: a seagull shooting laundrette worker with a degree in astrophysics who’s mourning the loss of his grandfather; alongside Francesca: a dog-walking rhubarb enthusiast who confronts Fraser for being too loud on the roof during his seagull murdering frenzy.

We are introduced to Fraser first on the roof of an apartment block in Glasgow in a comical opening sequence which sees him simultaneously dancing and committing attempted seagull genocide. He is quickly confronted by a downstairs neighbour, Francesca. The pair awkwardly meet in the way many neighbours often do but turns quickly in an unexpected exploration of laugh-out-loud comedy and debates on who’s life is harder. The narrative takes place in one location over the course of an evening, night and early hours of the following morning. For a show that is essentially one long scene it does an excellent job of retaining the audience’s attention. This is a real testament to the writing and gives the actors a real chance to do what they do best: act. Let me tell you that this duo can act.

Their dynamic is both hilarious and thought-provoking as well as tender and sincere. They bounce off each other with ease and keep me wanting more. As an audience member you watch them bond and you want them to get closer and closer. The curve ball of Fraser maybe not being as sweet as he first appeared probably should have been obvious given the first thing is does when meeting Francesca is hold her at gunpoint but there we are, we’re at the Fringe, anything can happen.

However, almost every play has a downside, and this show is no exception. I understand that when producing a show, you want to make it dynamic and use levels however, the nature of the venue in which I saw this show is not generous to those not in the front row. There were several moments where I found myself peering around the heads of those in front of me, for fear of missing the stellar acting, but unfortunately, I did not have much success.

The play’s message basically boils down to this: “Life is shit” but for fuck sake you have to get up and get on and “stick with it”. It draws the audience in with light-hearted comedy and gets more serious as it progresses. The fourth wall breaks become less frequent as the tension between the characters rise to their summit and the narrative is left largely open ended. I am grateful for this. I am grateful because the play does such a wonderful job of capturing the intricacies and roller-coaster of emotions that occur sometimes on a random night on a rooftop.

Will they meet again? Will they ever truly be friends? Who knows, we don’t need to know, because that’s not how life works. Don’t get me wrong if the company ever produced a sequel, I would be one of the first in line. I would be a fool to deny myself of the experience, but the piece that exists is so lovely as it is, the sequel better be damn good.

Recommended Drink: A pint of ready-noodle water.

Catch The Seagull (Not That One) until 27th May (times vary by day). Tickets are available through the Prague Fringe Box Office.

Mike Dorey

Bristol-based and fascinated by theatre and comedy in all its forms. He has covered a broad range of Shakespeare adaptations - both straight-laced and out-there - as well as taking a firm interest in stand-up comedy, sketch comedy, improvised comedy, music and even reviewing beatboxing. Mike is interested in the intersection of traditional and classical theatre with contemporary Fringe performance. His favourite drink is a vodka-coke (original, right?)

Festivals: EdFringe (2018-24), Brighton Fringe (2019), Paris Fringe (2020), Prague Fringe (2023)
Pronouns: He/Him