Tuesday, 12 August 2014

The Five Worst Things I Ever Did: Al Donegan, Just the Tonic at the Caves, Edinburgh Fringe 2014

By Laura King

Al Donegan wanted to share the five worst things he ever did, partly as a reason to skirt around - or perhaps explain - the sixth worst thing he ever did, lose the girl who was willing to marry him despite his gambling addiction and myriad other flaws.

In excruciating detail and sparing himself nothing, Al shared the five worst things he ever did as he told us he wanted to be a BETTER man.

He wanted to know for sure whether he was a liar and a "dick" or not, as branded by the woman he loved in the answerphone message that both dumps him and opens his show.

But his ex was only one of the many losses in his life.

Al explored whether he was simply a man being a man and following his instincts, an immature jerk who should grow up and take more responsibility.

Or whether his mother was right (a mum who would probably find an excuse if he were an axe murderer) when she reassured him that "maybe certain things just weren't meant to be".

This should not be a funny show but it was howling, thought-provoking and poignant by turns as Al slowly turned from a two-dimensional human into a three dimensional one before our eyes, even if he had not necessarily fixed himself by the end of the show.

I am sure his ex (if she knew about it) could not help but be slightly flattered by what was in essence a show-long apology to her, minus excuses.

But if there was one thing Al has perfected, it was the art of being a consummate loser.

This show worked on every level.


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