Originally planned to be performed live at Summerhall, Katie Bonna’s audio play, The Entertainment, is “about the worlds we carry around inside us”. Her character, Anna, has the perfect life on the surface, a perfect girlfriend, a perfect job – but how much is really happening in life, and how much in her head?
Directed by Amelia Sears, this is wickedly funny and completely escapist, a solo piece in which characters populate the world around Anna in a confessional style we’ve seen before in shows like Fleabag – Bonna has a definite gift in bringing a range of situations and moments to life, as well as creating strong characters which celebrate their own quirks and traits.
Best experienced through headphones, with an additional instruction for sighted listeners to close their eyes when prompted by a musical coda, this is the story of a children’s entertainment company worker who finds it easier to make up sitations and relationships with people than stepping out into the world in her own skin, however that may be scarred and sensitive to words and touch.
With a running time of around seventy minutes, this does not have to be experienced in one go if you would rather not – I listened twice, first in sections, and then as a whole. There is much to enjoy in the wordplay, the sound effects, and the constant question of whether we are living to something real, or the work of a fantasist.
So many stories, so many moments which are brilliantly put together; within the first half hour we feel something is just a little bit disturbing, but we continue to listen. Keep those headphones on for lots of aural surprises, and prepare to be just a bit shook up.
Fringe rating: ****
You can listen to The Entertainment on the Summerhall Online platform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe until the end of August.Book your ticket here.