“What if I promise you I won’t let the bomb off by the hot food counter?” is not a line you would expect to hear from someone about to strap said bomb to their chest, but it is a line that perhaps best hints at the tone for the Sarah Nelson penned Letter To Boddah, a tale of domestic terrorists who want to stick it to the man by blowing themselves, and a whole load of shoppers, up in their local Tesco store. Because, you know, Tesco is brainwashing everyone with their Every Little Help slogan and they have to be taught a lesson.
Set entirely in the disabled toilet of their local Tesco store, our two would-be bombers are Billy and Neil (Sam Glen and Jordan Reece). Billy wants revenge because his dad’s corner shop business was destroyed by the new Tesco, Neil is just along because he wants a little fame, and simply because Billy is his only real friend. Except Neil doesn’t believe he is a terrorist, because terrorists all have beards and wear dresses. No, if anything, they are anti-terrorists. Because sometimes “when you arent being listened to, you have to do something extreme.” Which is so not what terrorists do. Its lines such as these that are peppered throughout the show that suggest a perfect understanding of the absurdity of the subject matter, as well as give something that at times turns quite serious a warm levity.
The play opens on a frantic note, locked in the toilet, counting down the minutes until they head out into the store and take their revenge. Billy is sure of his actions, Neil is having doubts when he realises that innocent people might get hurt, especially the nice man on the hot food counter, after all, he gave him an extra drum stick once, so he really shouldn’t be hurt. But as Neil’s doubts are slowly vanquished, Billy has his own, almost a role reversal between the two and allowing for each to demonstrate the range of their acting skills.
Things briefly dip slightly two thirds in, as much as the voices in Billy’s head are interesting, they prehaps need a little tightening up, but the pace soon returns for the conclusion, as they finally discuss what they would write had they thought to leave suicide notes; the play’s title being a reference to Kurt Cobain’s own suicide note, and it’s closing statement that it is better to burn out than fade away.
Letter To Boddah is a clever and funny piece of writing, taking a rather ridiculous idea to an equally crazy conclusion. Add in the fine acting of its two cast members, it’s a play that has enough about it to have a bigger life after Edinburgh is over.
Written and directed by: Sarah Nelson
Produced by: Chris Wallis and Watershed Productions
Booking link: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/letter-to-boddah
Playing until: 26 August 2019