What Broke David Lynch?


Twonkey's Drive In
Greenside @ Nicolson Square

What Broke David Lynch?

David Lynch is a hard act to follow. The undeniable auteur and quirky genius of cinema has made a name for himself both for his abstract, dreamlike Americanus Horribilis cinema and with the duality of his affably normal personality and weirdly oddness. There is great mileage in that style and certainly some in the story of how he brought The Elephant Man to the silver screen. But this show isn’t the vessel.

Paul Vickers, of Twonkey fame, has brought this love letter to Lynch to the Fringe, in very much his signature style. With a bleach blonde quiff and a vague approximation at Lynch’s distinctive voice and cadence, it’s clear the bones of a good concept are at work here. Similarly, Steven Vickers’s portrayal of producer Mel Brooks does a weakly-closed fist of sounding like him occasionally when he phones in to berate the lack of progress on the set of the film.

Robert Atler and Miranda Shrapnell appear to do the requisite acting turns, with Atler as both John Hurt and Anthony Hopkins, the latter being the inarguable highlight of the piece. Shrapnell on the other hand is in full Lynchian dolly-girl mode, as a weird dreamlike imaginary friend, haunting Lynch and holding him back from greatness.

The trouble is, the abstract and weird narrative here is a mess. It’s one thing to ape Lynch’s style, but it helps to have a clear goal at work, or at least a great sense of comic timing. The laughs that came sounded more like the relief of sick-desperation, or just utter defeat at the inane weirdness that was occurring onstage. The occasional musical number does break things up, but the amount of watch and phone checking during the scene changes did little to assuage the fear that this just wasn’t landing.

Were this a Free Fringe show, then it might be more forgivable, but drawing audiences in with the promise of Lynch at full price, it’s impossible not to simply warn them away. Lynch lovers, this is not for you.

Reviewer: Graeme Strachan