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Sunsets: Venue 24: Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose

This is a show that had one audience member at its first performance at the Edinburgh Fringe 2023, which led to an X (as Tweets are to be known these days) from Georgie Grier seeking reassurance, which was duly supplied by other performers who have also had single-figure audiences, or even an audient before at the Fringe (the Collins Dictionary definition of ‘audient’ is “a person who hears or listens”). Such was the response that her next Fringe performance was sold out, and I must admit Sunsets was not on my radar until Grier’s social media output went viral. It also later emerged that Grier had tweeted last year after she had an audience of two: her mum and dad.

Sunsets: Georgie Greer.
Sunsets: Georgie Greer.

The show takes the form of a podcast, with the audience attending a live studio recording of the final episode of a podcast about, as I understood it, an attempt by the podcast’s presenter, Denver (played by Grier) to document the story of her living as though she were in a ‘romcom’. It helps tremendously to know a thing or two about romantic comedy motion pictures – some of the references went over my head, perhaps because I haven’t seen very many films of any genre.

There’s buy-in from the audience as Denver refers to previous podcast episodes. It’s assumed the live recording’s attendees are already fans of the podcast (otherwise why would they be there?), so Denver would ask if we remember, for instance, episode three, before sneakily giving us a quick summary. But there’s a lot going on, and despite Denver’s parents being called Harry and Sally, whether she will be successful in her endeavours to replicate common characteristics of romantic comedies for real is far from clear.

Advertisements from the podcast’s sponsors are funny, in a satirical way, and some remarks unfit for broadcast will be, the audience is assured, edited out by Denver’s long-suffering producer. Grier’s Denver works hard to maintain the audience’s interest, and there’s a subliminal takeaway message about unrealistic expectations, in whatever form they come in, that seem aspirational at face value but can ultimately prove damaging. In the end, it’s mildly amusing rather than laugh-out-loud funny.

3 Star Review

Review by Chris Omaweng

Welcome to this live episode of the podcast! Well, sort of. Fascinated by romantic comedies, one woman tries to create her own walking-off-into-the-sunset moment. While recording it, of course. Denver’s parents might not have ended up like When Harry Met Sally, but she can find her own happily ever after… right? Combining a delicate navigation of heartache with disco dancing and rom-com plots, this one-woman show, written and performed by Georgie Grier, explores our relationship to fantasy and how far this can impact our reality.

http://www.gildedballoon.co.uk/

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