This article was originally written for and published by The Public Reviews at:
Writer: Philip Meeks
Director: Sam Kane
The Public Reviews Rating:
A Gilded Balloon commission for this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Philip Meeks’ Kiss Me Honey, Honey is on the surface a farcical romp about the lives of two single middle aged men, reduced to living in less than salubrious digs, who bond over a mutual appreciation of Shirley Bassey and a desperate desire for love. But as with all of Meeks’ work it masks a deeper, much sadder and sadly resonant tale of loneliness and the perils of dating in the digital age.
This amiable two hander plays out for the most part like an episode of a risqué 1970′s sitcom: there’s innuendo, female impersonation, in-jokes and misunderstandings a-plenty. There’s also more than a whiff of the panto about the whole endeavour, deftly handled by both Andy Gray, as recently divorced Ross and Grant Stott as naive dating newbie Graham. Gray is well known as a comedy actor and it is no surprise that he elicits the biggest belly-laughs from the crowd, but it is Stott that is the revelation here, usually seen as the pantomime villain, his finely tuned portrayal of the innocent Graham displays an up until now unseen dramatic talent.
There is an undeniable rapport between the two actors, honed over years as stalwarts of the Edinburgh pantomime scene and they manage to wring every last laugh from the material. However, the comedy is broad and the jokes too obvious, and whilst they elicit laughs from the largely older audience, the 70′s sexism and (at times) misogyny, is a little hard to accept in the 21st century and lessens rather than heightens the impact of the more thoughtful moments of tragedy and reflection.
That said, its easy to forgive its faults and the mirth continued as the audience exited the venue. A funny but undemanding and somewhat old-fashioned evening’s entertainment, but it could have been so much more.
Reviewed on 13th October 2013 then touring.
Photo credit: Steve Ullathorne