Bingo, Pleasance Theatre

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by guest critic Amy Toledano

Bingo hits you right where it hurts in this one-man comedy show at The Pleasance Theatre. With its mile-a-minute comedy stylings and all-too-relatable references to the difficulties of being an artist in London, Bingo with have you gasp-laughing the entire time.

Alan Flanagan plays Cormack, an Irishman living in London who loves penis. He makes this very clear from the get go. What is not so clear is the fact that he has just be diagnosed with a long list of STIs, all of which he knows he could have avoided had he been little more careful. But Cormack lives with the chip on his shoulder that many artists struggle with, and this piece is a lovely homage to the way people can hit bottom and then move forward.

The jokes are constant and while the show begins with edgy material we soon become accustomed to this particular way of speaking. And Cormack becomes more and more lovable.

The relationship that Flanagan has painted between Cormack and his family is a very common one and brings a dark side to Bingo that is unexpected and crushing. Something that also stands out is the choices Flanagan makes in the way his character develops. It could easily be a story of an artist who overcomes everything but instead is the story of a man who is doing the very best he can.

A clearly talented playwright and actor, Flanagan creates a world that is not only drenched in reality, but gives you a sensation of hope that will have you leaving the theatre all warm and fuzzy.

Bingo runs through 24 June.

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