Edinburgh Festival review – No Son of Mine

Watching father and son duo Don and Dennis Beazely thrashing out their differences in No Son of Mine is at times hilarious, writes Paul Fleckney.
Update – No Son of Mine will be at Leicester Square Theatre from March 3-5, 2011 click here for full info and booking.

No_Son_Of_Mine1With stand-up and sketch dominating comedy at the Fringe as ever, No Son of Mine immediately presents you with something different. A full-length show featuring a character duo is to all intents and purposes a play, but that doesn’t mean it ain’t comedy. In fact this is an extremely funny show full of sharp writing.

The premise is a simple one. Don and Dennis Beazely – father and son respectively – are at odds. Dennis is a camp, wannabe thespian with actooor’s diction, convinced of his own seering talent but only capable of an amateurish, faux-satirical piece called Afghan Hounds, a scene from which kicks off No Son of Mine. It is interrupted by Don, an unreconstructed, aging lothario car salesman from Grimsby who calls a spade a spade and his son something rather more unkind. He likes rugby league and old-fashioned blue (he revels in the old Bernard Manning “dictaphone” “dick to phone” joke) and does not approve of Dennis’s acting aspirations. He essentially tries to bully Dennis out of it, and in the process all the skeletons in the Beazely family closet come tumbling out.

These two are immaculately played by Alex Kirk (Don) and Rufus Jones (a former Perrier Award nominee in Dutch Elm Conservatoire with Angelos creator Dan Renton Skinner). You are utterly convinced in Don and Dennis and their back story – you can imagine them as running characters from the Fast Show who have been cherrypicked for development. And while neither are especially likeable, the performances are such that you root for the bond between; the loving father and son dynamic that they both clearly crave, and there is something of a resolution, while averting a cheesy ending.

But most of all it is big on laughs, with more brilliant set pieces and lines than most stand-up shows. There’s Dennis’s regression to sulky child, his attempt to chat up an audience member that goes really dark, witty asides about the mobile home venue and pouring rain, the story of how Don met Dennis’s mother and the re-enactment of that, a Les Dennis punchline that comes from nowhere … all in all a fantastic hour.

Four stars
No Son of Mine is on at 3.15pm at Pleasance Courtya

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