The Andromeda Paradox

Edfest Bouquets 2015

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It’s been an amazing August for us at Bouquets & Brickbats. We’ve spent the entire month running from show to show, and have seen some truly brilliant performances. Here’s our pick of the best we’ve seen at this year’s Fringe:

Drama Bouquets

  1. Phantom Owl Productions – Filthy Talk for Troubled Times by Neil La Bute
  2. Phantom Owl Productions – Fault Lines by Stephen Belber
  3. Paines Plough – Lungs by Duncan McMillan

Monologue Bouquets

  1. Noni Stapleton  – Charolais by Noni Stapleton
  2. Thom Tuck – Scaramouche Jones by Justin Butcher
  3. Tom Neenan – The Andromeda Paradox by Tom Neenan

Stand-up Comedy Bouquets

  1. Stewart Lee – A Room With A Stew
  2. Sarah Kendall – A Day In October
  3. Garrick Millerick – A Selection of Things I’ve Said to Taxi Drivers

‘Ones to Watch Out For’ Bouquets

  1. Alfie Brown – Isms
  2. Morro and Jasp – Morro and Jasp Do Puberty
  3. Master of None Productions – Foxfinder by Dawn King

Philip Caveney and Susan Singfield

Tom Neenan: The Andromeda Paradox

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24/08/15

Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh

Professor Bernard Andromeda has devoted his life to researching strange phenomena – so when a mysterious prehistoric artefact is discovered in a disused London tube station, his curiosity is immediately aroused – especially when said artefact is inscribed with his name. He sets about trying to discover its origins and finds himself embroiled in a mystery that will challenge his scientific beliefs to the core, one that leads to the realisation that alien forces are at work. Soon much of the population of London has been turned into hordes of zombies all chanting his name and he is the only man who can avert disaster…

Tom Neenan has written a wonderfully affectionate parody of Nigel Kneale’s landmark sci-fi tale, The Quatermass Experiment, in which he plays all the characters – from a strange German professor who has taken his experiments with flowers a bit too far, to Andromeda’s adoring female assistant who is prepared to use her feminine charms to help him solve the mystery. Neenan is an expert story teller and he milks the comic potential of the 50s setting with great skill, aided and abetted by a script that is laugh-out-loud funny – the scene where one of Neenan’s hands transforms into an adorable alien creature… ‘no bigger than my hand,’ is a particular delight. There’s wonderful stagecraft here too. A whole range of locations are evoked simply by the positioning of a table and chair and Neenan’s sweet posh-boy persona is exploited to the hilt.

The performance is peppered with plenty of in-jokes but you don’t need to be familiar with the original material in order to enjoy this deliciously silly slice of nonsense, which is designed to appeal to people of all ages. Fabulous stuff, I urge you to catch it.

4.5 stars

Philip Caveney