Drenched @ Pleasance Courtyard
Cornish folk tales delivered by surly comic creation Daniel Drench proves to be an uneasy mix
If you’re one of those who’ve long felt there isn’t enough Cornish folk at the Fringe (there are dozens of us), then Drenched will be a long-overdue panacea. A production by Third Man Theatre, Drenched is a story told by one of Cornwall’s self-proclaimed finest exports, storyteller Daniel Drench, played by company member Dan Frost. It’s the centuries-old tale of the Mermaid of Zennor, who tempted away a young man from a little village.
The character of Daniel Drench is a talented storyteller, but not an easy person. He’s impatient with the audience when they don’t cooperate to his liking, and desires his story to be just so. A couple of his more pointed barbs have members of the audience glancing at each other – “Does he… you know… mean that?” It’s a wholly committed performance by Frost, accepting and embracing that not everybody will get it, indeed that what he’s going for works better if some people don’t.
This means Drenched isn’t always easy to sit through. The fact that a show is succeeding at deliberately making you feel uncomfortable doesn’t necessarily make feeling that way any more enjoyable. Frost and writing partner Eddie Elks fill the script with plenty of funny moments – some of the best are the contemptuous lashings at the inadequacies of the series Poldark – and the music throughout is wonderful, all rustic folk and infectious shanties. Ultimately, though, it floats in a fallow area somewhere between character comedy and drama. You leave the theatre unsure what you were supposed to get out of all that, and indeed, if you ever did get anything out of all that.
Drenched, Pleasance Courtyard (Bunker Two), Aug 1-27, 3pm, £8-11
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