In The Fantasist’s Waltz, as a lonely man’s private world unravels, the woman next door reveals secrets of her own.
When the play opens, we are treated to a vibrant waltz on cello, harmonium and mandolin. A man enters, and seems to be the life of a large party: he waves to admirers, he flirts, he smokes with panache, he sips champagne. He fills the stage, dancing with joy. But then he slumps into a chair lit by one bulb, which dims to the sound of a ticking clock, and we realize the party is a fantasy created in the safety of his tiny house.
All three musicians sweep props and chairs on and off, slide the daily newspaper across the porch, and then merge into an array of other characters: shrill office mates, door to door salesmen, the lonely woman next door—only to melt into the background, handing over cereal bowls, a briefcase, a precious box of treasures. This daily existence has been working fine, until his imaginary life is interrupted with catastrophic consequences.
The play heads to the Edinburgh Fringe this summer. The Fringe is crammed with plays of every description. Some are “meh” and some are “Wow!” This play will be a wow.
TongueTied Theatre Company ( here) takes a small cast playing multiple roles and combines dance, mime, music and drama to “illuminate the simple truths of everyday life”. Joe Bone is the Fantasist, Seiriol Davies plays cello, Lizzie Wort plays the harmonium, triangle and melodica, and Edward Wren plays mandolin and harp. This is edgy, brilliant, heart-breaking theatre. On Feb 17, almost every seat was filled with an appreciative viewer. One couple, only up from London for the day, could not believe their great fortune to catch such a compelling, poignant, hilarious tale.
After York, the play heads to Hull Truck Theatre (30-31 March, here), Harrogate Theatre (18-19 April, here), Georgian Theatre Royal, Richmond (25 April, here) and finally, the Carriage Works, Leeds (1 May), and then moves to the Edinburgh Festival.
Catch this local pleasure whilst you can.