Fringe Review: Let’s blow this popsicle stand

Stranded at the bottom of a freezer box...

Stranded at the bottom of a freezer box, a lonely popsicle (Grape) tries to make sense of his existence. Hypnotised by the constant hum of the compressor fan, his monotony is only broken when other – equally unconventional – characters find their way into his private reality. It is a completely ridiculous concept and a completely delightful show.

The two actors, Jayson McDonald and Tyler Parr, are a superb comic duo, handling each new relationship with perfect timing and expressive gestures.

At times a (very) tongue-in-cheek Waiting for Godot, at times teen romance, at times a psychological power struggle, Grape’s interactions are hilarious but always human. The brilliantly witty text by Stephanie Demas (who also directed) dances lightly between existential questioning and psychological games – with frequent outrageously funny reminders that we are, after all, talking about popsicles here. The “High-Pitched Ones” or “Little Hands” one encounters “at the top are the children whose arrival signals an escape to the “Outside”. There is an understated current of tragedy in this. The audience knows the characters’ fate and almost wills Grape to remain in splendid – and solid – isolation at the bottom.

About 25 minutes into this short show, the pace lagged a little and I wondered how long they could possibly sustain this concept. It was at this point that the final twist of the play became apparent and the change in tone – and temperature - was utterly brilliant.
A wonderfully refreshing show… I pay a particular tribute to Jayson McDonald’s magnificently expressive eyebrow.

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