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Do Our Best at Underbelly Cowgate (Iron Belly) – Edinburgh Fringe

Do Our Best - courtesy of The Other Richard
Do Our Best – courtesy of The Other Richard

Sephie (Remy Beasley) is after a Girlguiding badge for entertainment. The Girlguiding website, which I looked at after the show out of curiosity, does indeed have a Brownies badge for ‘performing’.

Take your seats, the show is about to start,” the website enthuses. “Are you ready to become a performer?” Sephie doesn’t have long to get her badge – there is Girlguiding for 18 to 30-year-olds these days – but she needs the presence of Brown Owl (the adult leader in charge of a Girlguiding group) because she will be able to verify that Sephie has fulfilled the requirements for the Entertainer’s badge.

Sephie is certainly very committed to the cause, even enthusiastically making ‘the promise’, from which the show’s title is derived. “I promise that I will do my best, to be true to myself and develop my beliefs, to serve the Queen and my community, to help other people and to keep the Brownie Guide Law.” With just a smattering of audience participation (sit in the front row at one’s own risk and all that), this is an attempt to, in essence, come to terms with losing her mother.

There are delusions of grandeur going on, though, especially when Sephie describes herself as “severely talented”, and she’s one of those people who thinks everything is always someone else’s fault – her seemingly long-suffering stage manager, Caitlin O’Reilly, bears the brunt of Sephie’s miscellaneous frustrations. To top it off, Brown Owl now can’t make it (something about having a limb severed by a tractor), but Sephie’s hired the venue and the show to be assessed (this one) is already underway. Even so, she resolves, “the show must go on”, so she ploughs on regardless.

What follows is a rather messy and at times nonsensical extravaganza, mixed in with the occasional poignant moment, most notably one with a recording of her late mother’s voice, conducted during an interview Sephie held with her. But even that cuts out after a while, because, to the best of Sephie’s recollection, the tape was partially reused to record chart music onto. It’s as if her mother’s passing has caused her to regress, and there are repeated requests for a hug (eventually obliged).

On a personal level, I was more mildly amused than wildly entertained. That said, Sephie is a character very well developed, likeable despite her self-congratulatory nature. A bizarre but nonetheless compelling production.

4 stars

Review by Chris Omaweng

Self-obsessed Sephie finds herself back in the sanctuary of the Girl Guides following the death of her Mother. In a last ditch effort to fend off eternal unhappiness she attempts achieving her Entertainers badge for the fourth time. A devastating comedy about how to harness your grief, find your pack and never giving up. From 2018’s double Fringe-First winning Francesca Moody Productions (Angry Alan, Square Go), written and performed by fast-rising Remy Beasley (Stella, Sky) and directed by Fringe First Award winner, Hannah Banister. ‘An incredible comedy acting and writing talent’ (Ruth Jones, on Remy Beasley).

Writer/Performer Remy Beasley
Director Hannah Banister
Producer Francesca Moody Productions in association with Underbelly
Twitter #DoOurBest, @RemyLea, @ChescMood, @followthecow

Underbelly, Cowgate – Iron Belly
16th to 25th August 2019
https://www.edfringe.com/

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