Alannah Jones, Edinburgh Fringe, Gabe Day, Glue by Rory Platt, Holly Gorne, Jack Chisnall, Jack Taylor, Rory Platt, Spermatozoa, Surgeon's Hall, Theatre Review, Trinity Fringe Productions, Victoria Hingley
“Glue” is a Fringe priority for Tychy in light of the writer Rory Platt’s 2013 play “Gabe Day.” Tychy did not go wild over the characterisation or the sitcom atmosphere of “Gabe Day,” but the excellence of the writing still marked Platt out as an urgent line of future inquiry. “Glue” incorporates the comedy of “Gabe Day” into a significantly more mature and ambitious piece of theatre. It is just as witty, but deeper too. The sense that you always get in its venue, the Surgeons’ Hall, of having cornered a play and being able to gloat over its nearness, also helps you to rejoice in “Glue.”
So there are three mini plays about spermatozoa…
The first is a vision of a future in which semen is in such short supply that the government has nationalised the means of, ahem, reproduction. This scenario is dystopian in the cold, mild vein of John Wyndham. Two women (Victoria Hingley and Holly Gorne) are together completing an assessment to determine whether they are eligible for a ration of state semen; they discuss their circumstances but they never get too friendly. In a world in which mothers are literally recruited through a selection process, these women are as powerless as babies and the state has taken the next, inevitable step from DBS checks.
The second is a monologue by a science teacher (Jack Chisnall) who is led, through a storyline which involves field expeditions with microscopes, to compare his sperm count to that of one of his pupils. In the first mini play sperm was a resource which was controlled from the top; here a demoralised authority drowns in an “abundance” of up-and-coming sperm.
The third imagines schoolchildren being taught about the facts of life through something which resembles a Fringe performance. Two actors, one dressed as an egg (Alannah Jones) and the other as a sperm (Jack Taylor), are rehearsing a presentation which will be performed at a school assembly. Lycra-clad, they look like competitors in some little-known Olympic sport. They rehearse probably the most unerotic on-stage fuck in the history of Fringe theatre (technically, it is a fuck within a fuck). They also quarrel and they do not fall in love. Anthropomorphising sperm leaves the actors to confront a practically infinite sense of their own insignificance.
We were all created by those little guys down there and this play springs from the same origins. There is something rather wondrous about a piece of theatre which, for no clear reason, chooses semen as a subject and proceeds to deliver scenes of bitterness, envy, and petty angst. Perhaps this is all part of the fun. “Glue” is a wonky play about a random theme and in this it is perfect.