As well as performing in sketch trio Pappy’s, Tom Parry has adapted Nikolai Gogol’s 1842 play Marriage, and has roped in most of Edinburgh’s sketch comedy talent to perform it.
The play is a satire on marriage, what we look for in potential partners and the pressure that approaching 30 brings to settle down. A messy and somewhat self-obsessed layabout (Ben Clark, also of Pappy’s) is in want of a wife. A matchmaker finds him a potential partner, Agatha, but he has to vie with three other suitors.
Parry’s adaptation is gentle and inoffensive. It looks like a drawing-room farce but lacks the wit of Wodehouse or Wilde and relies instead on awkward character creation by these sketch superstars.
It’s directed with a static formality by Russell Bolam, with lots of straight lines and actors standing still. It’s fairly propless: there’s a chair and a giant chess pawn but the rest is left to the imagination.
After a bit of time it does get into its stride and the laughs trickle out, but there’s too little humour and it comes far too late.
The duo from Lazy Susan work best together as Agatha and her aunt, but ultimately Marriage works neither as a piece of theatre nor as a vehicle for comedy talent.