A&E Comedy: Enter The Dragons. Reviewed by Karen Dobres

A&E Comedy: Enter The Dragons
Hangleton Community Centre
Your Place Hangleton, Brighton Festival 2017

Reviewed by Karen Dobres

Starting with monsters and ending with a diva, this hilarious show criticises a ‘capitalist patriarchal society’ that denigrates women over 40 simply for ageing. And this 49-year-old came out ready to laugh in the face of a pot of anti-ageing cream.

Clown duo A&E Comedy, made up of Emma Edwards and Abigail Dooley who have been writing and performing (together and separately) for over 20 years, are at the peak of their game. With the aid of a sparse set, outrageous wigs, large and awkward costumes and accents, and an archetypal middle-aged woman Protaganist – a role shared by both performers – they lead us through an outrageously funny hero’s journey to embrace ageing.

Our Protaganist, lost and unacknowledged in her youth-worshipping world, is instructed by an uncompromising Kronos, God of Time, to travel alone on Uneasy Jet to find herself again. Before she leaves, in a genius bit of comic invention, a three- headed monster made up of Iris Apfel, Dolly Parton and Germaine Greer appears to give her wise advice and bestow three magic tools upon her which she’ll need for the journey: glowing Spectacles of Insight; a tongue sharpener; and lastly what appears to be ‘an old beige cardigan from Marks and Spencer’s’ but is actually, of course, a useful Cloak of Invisibility. Well-observed social jokes like this abound, and we recognise and relate to the Sea of Apology, full of sirens singing relentless anti-ageing messages, and the Forest of Forgetfulness, into which the Protagonist can’t remember why she went in the first place.

A highlight is a song called The Fuckit List, a welcome antidote to the traditional Bucket List, and a showcase for the performers’ excellent writing, comic timing and facial expressions. As the Protaganist meets her Inner Diva towards the end, having discarded those parts of her baggage she no longer needs and retained just the best parts of her personality for future use, the message becomes clear: your 18-year-old self is still there inside, and your 80-year-old self is a delight you have to look forward to – hold hands with both and dance!

The show lasts a humble hour, and never lost my attention once.

A&E Comedy: Enter the Dragons was presented at Your Place Hangleton on 14 May as part of the Brighton Festival 2017. www.brightonfestival.org 


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