Talking to Strangers @ Assembly, George Square

Review by Ben Venables | 24 Aug 2016
  • Talking to Strangers

Fans of the radio show will find much to enjoy in the live performance of Talking to Strangers

Instead of an Edinburgh show going on to become a Radio 4 series, in the case of Sally Phillips and Lily Bevan's Talking to Strangers, it's the other way round: here they bring their Alan Bennett-style monologues from the wireless to the stage.

The original idea apparently came from hearing snippets of overheard conversations, and there is a sense of loneliness that comes through and unites what could be a rather random assortment of caricatures. With some characters (such as a scientist in the field, a researcher in the numerosity of lions), we get a sense of an entire life wasted – while others are merely stuck in a cul-de-sac (such as a yoga instructor who talks a class through their moves with increasingly absurd analogies). The wordplay is another constant, and successfully so, even if it does veer into Madlibs territory at times.

It's a good live show based on a good radio show, but it does made us crave to see Sally Phillips and Lily Bevan doing something more with an Edinburgh platform. Still, Phillips' care in doodling an erect penis on a whiteboard elicits some of the biggest laughs we've heard at the Fringe.

Sally Phillips and Lily Bevan: Talking to Strangers, Assembly George Square Studios: One, 15-21 Aug, 8pm, £12.50-14