EDINBURGH 2019: BWW Review: DO OUR BEST, Underbelly
Actor and writer Remy Beasley takes her role of Very Enthusiastic and Prepared Girl Guide Sephie extremely seriously. She is a self-obsessed, yet adorable, 30-year-old Girl Scout trying to finally achieve her entertainment badge after several failed attempts.
Produced by double Fringe First-winning Francesca Moody (of Angry Alan, Square Go and also one of the producers of mega-hit Fleabag), Do Our Best is a Fringe show that owns its platform. Beasley eagerly says hello to every person as they enter the theatre, running up and down the aisles like a Duracell Bunny on ProPlus.
Amy Cook's design sets up the charming over-confidence that fuels the show: it is staged in front of an obscenely large close-up of Sephie's face. Such aplomb is emulated in Beasley's water-tight script; "I AM SEVERELY TALENTED", she asserts with the arrogance of an investment banker (no offence). But this self-assurance is thinly veiled.
Once Brown Owl doesn't turn up to invigilate, Sephie's umpteenth attempt to get her badge is quashed. Then begins the real delicate, devastating narrative of a young woman trying to get to grips with the death of a parent and an intricate exploration of the women who shaped her.
The nuanced direction of Hannah Banister, with physical theatre punctuating the monologue, maps out every tiny moment of childhood disappointment, humiliation, or hope.
Do Our Best is a deceptively feather-light one-woman show. What begins as an out-and-out comedy gently morphs into something otherworldly. The dry interjections of onstage stage-manager Caitlin O-Reilley banish any trace of a fourth wall: an example of meta-narrative at its most intricate.
Beasley's immense piece of new writing harnesses the very reason why people got to the Fringe: to be entertained, to laugh.
Do Our Best is at Underbelly until 25 August