Perhaps a bit of an audacious choice in name but Best Play Ever certainly does its best to live up to it.
The premise is layered with comic promise. The Crown Polisher (Joe Large) and the Horn Blower (Lucio Gray) are locked together in a dungeon, condemned to death for their supposed murder of Eric the Court Jester. The only chance of a reprieve is if they can provide fresh entertainment by writing the ‘best play ever’. The consequences are truly side-splitting to take in.
Large and Gray have possibly the best comic chemistry of two performers that I saw at Fringe 2017. They serve as fantastic foils and counterpoints to one another, and balance a constant comic energy between them. At the time of watching, I admit my friend and I were very uncertain whether or not the majority of the show was scripted or improvised off the cuff. It was only a chance encounter with two friendly girls from the crew the next day that confirmed to us most of show was indeed improvised, with a scripted structure and base story around it.
It’s very hard to tell; Large and Gray are so skilled at playing off each other and rolling with whatever the other comes up with that they make their improvisations seem like long standing dialogue from a well-written script. One presumes that their hectic comic talent is reigned in and cultivated by the director, Emily Oulton, whose guidance has best allowed these actors to deliver upon their set-up for the best possibly hilarious outcomes.
Watching this play was another of my happy accidents from this Fringe, and Large and Gray are the best new comic duo I’ve seen in a while. I’m sure that the combination of these two actors would cause any comedy show to become almost dangerous in the amount of laughter it can produce.