City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Vichy Goings-On, Assembly Roxy, Review


By Kenneth Scott - Posted on 08 February 2018

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Vichy Goings-On - RTF.jpg
Show Details
Venue: 
Assembly Roxy
Company: 
RTF
Production: 
Ben Blow (writer), Robin Osman (director).
Performers: 
Sean Langtree (Albert Ogilvy), Andrea McKenzie (Veronique D’Obray), Jonathan Whiteside (Ambassador, Erwin Rommel), Ben Blow (Blackfoot, Albert Speer, Franklin D Roosevelt), Madeleine McGirk (Dorokhova), David Taylor (Ancient Master), Jonathan Whiteside (Ambassador, Erwin Rommel).
Running time: 
70mins

Glasgow 1948; out of the dockside shadows steps Ogilvie. He has a tale to tell of terrible, wonderful things that he has done. He wants to be taken seriously, but his mention of polar bears in Antarctica presages some seriously strange excursions onto the thin ice of reality. So, is he secret agent, traitor, communist or crank?

To reach the end he may have to put his trust in Veronique (Vera), an old amour and swivel-eyed gun-nut who talks to her pistol and equates foreplay with firearms. She is said to have killed more men than influenza, and therefore faith could be an issue.

They set off on a flashback tour of events from Argentina, Martinique to the Antarctic pursuing and sowing rumours of Vichy gold while he becomes a wanted man - friend with the Soviets and enemy of the Americans. Not everything is as it seems though as he rubs up against the ends of the earth, a New World Order and Fourth Reich of “nice” Nazis.

The plot becomes both preposterous and crazy enough to start making sense, dubiously linking world domination with agendas of politics, ancient masters, pyramids, and flat-earthers. The production taps into an abiding interest in pseudo-science and conspiracy theories. Television documentary channels currently support a raft of programmes delving into ancient aliens, escaped Nazis and lost Templar gold.

Some of the characters, such as Hitler’s architect Albert Speer masquerading as a cockney taxi driver, offer surreal moments but Veronique and Rommel are a little bit too “’Allo ‘Allo”. Ogilvy with his fluid allegiances does a good job in becoming increasingly world weary and more than slightly baffled. It’s enthusiastically performed and neatly designed with film noir-like projections and titles.

For all its craziness it does have a bit of bite and invites question. There is truth in the power politics, imperialism and the spiriting away or non-prosecution of scientists in the lead up to the Cold War. The pacing and moments of humour are a little choppy and it might benefit from doffing the tin-foil hat and embracing the anarchy.

Not a hidden treasure, but it is good to see that this sort of production has a life beyond the Fringe.

Show Times: 7th and 8th February 2018 at 7pm
Tickets: £7 (£5)
Suitability: 14+
Formation Festival runs 3 – 8 February 2018 at Assembly Roxy

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