Ginzel's Little Cordoba: A Double Bill

Rena Brannan
The Vindicate Company
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

Ginzel's Little Cordoba: A Double Bill

It’s rare to get a double bill at the Fringe; which itself is a curious thing considering the effort gone to by so many playwrights and young casts to get themselves out there. A two-for-one pair of plays ought to be a more common occurrence by rights.

Ginzela’s Little Cordoba is a pairing of a duo of thematically linked pieces by Rena Brannan; both plays are linked by various motifs and thematic ideas. Both plays have mentions of “The Plague” as each is set shortly after a great catastrophic pandemic, but equally couldn’t be further apart.

Little Cordoba tells the story of a pair of 16th century criminals who team-up to rob, cheat, fight and generally lark their way to London along the pilgrim trail. The two lads swindle their way around, trying to earn a crust and, through various scenes of quirky hijinks, find themselves in deeper and deeper problems. Ginzel is set in the modern day, and finds a pair of actors in a London café debating their lives and work, and the meaning of it all.

It’s a strange beast of a show, but fair to say that of the two parts, Little Cordoba works far better. It’s zany, inventive and funny in its raucous absurdism. Adam Philips and Josh Ward play brilliantly off each other, while Tom Tuck plays the entire rest of the cast, whizzing through a head-spinning array of shifting mannerisms and accents.

There’s more than a touch of the Rosencrantz and Guildernstern to the play as well, as the pair debate life, their purpose and bicker inanely between interactions with the plot. It’s also fair to say that had this segment been longer, it could have easily sufficed for the entirety of the performance, and would have been an acceptable piece of Fringe fare.

Ginzel, on the other hand, simply confuses, as it’s so short a play as to be more of a fragment, a modern day conversation that doesn’t gel as well, with two characters who talk, act and are so fully unlike the previous 40 minutes of the play that it jars horribly. While it’s not bad, it’s not as engaging, and is barely funny, leading to the whole that ends up being less than the sum of its parts.

Reviewer: Graeme Strachan

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