Nick Coyle: Double Tribute @ Just the Tonic at the Caves
Nick Coyle’s ex-girlfriend Jenny has died (killed by snakes). Her boyfriend Garth has also died (drowned by Russell Crowe), and something’s not quite right. Coyle has built a robot Jenny – essentially a toaster with a wig on it – to keep him company, and, after rifling through her diary, decides to put on the one-woman show Jenny planned to perform about her love for, and loss of, the aforementioned Garth. His tribute to Jenny is to enact her tribute to Garth. It’s a Double Tribute.
This, it hardly needs saying, is a weird, wheels-within-wheels type show. Coyle slinks around the stage with a camp, borderline bitchy manner, speaking conspiratorially to the audience and making droll comments about the ex he clearly hated. He’s also patently gay, and we soon start to suspect he had something to do with the deaths of the tributes. With the cave-like room plunged often into darkness, only to be flooded suddenly with eerie bluish lights, it’s an atmospheric, borderline unsettling experience.
Double Tribute is a skewed take on the kind of show produced when someone dies, and it’s pretty surreal stuff, in places very funny, in others outright – and quite deliberately – odd. Coyle himself is a gifted performer and deserves a larger crowd to appreciate his talents. He’s handsome without vanity, which means he can pull outrageous faces (his ‘sexy crying’ is a sight to behold). Any performer happy to end their show with sick and blood down their front, jiving with a robot to Mariah Carey, cannot be accused of being precious. It’s a meandering puzzle, but one worth attempting to solve if you’re in the market for something a bit more challenging at the Fringe this year.