Assembly George Square Studio
C J Hopkins’ Horse Country returns to the festival having made a Fringe First and Herald Angel winning debut in 2002. In the last twenty years the world has changed tremendously, and even within the last three years, it’s clear that the Edinburgh Fringe is a completely different place too.
Sam and Bob are two Americans waiting. “I don’t know what I’m saying, words are just coming out of my mouth” says Sam. On one level, that’s exactly what this play is about, just saying things. Horse Country is rightly often likened to Waiting for Godot, but with much more grounding in place, which makes for a much more enjoyable hour if we’re all being honest with ourselves.
Whether that’s listing sandwiches or remembering vague battles and recounting glorious victories on the field or in business, theirs is an over-the-top American tone. Sam, in blue overalls and Bob, in a red velvet jacket are archetypes clearly defined enough to pass as the basest satire on America and the American Dream, which will probably never go out of fashion. “Isn’t this a great country?” says one, “what we need is more guys with guns, and women without clothes” responds the other.
This is a lively production directed well by Mark Bell that brings out the humour in the absurdist nature of the play and really makes it his own. He chews up the direction of lines like “don’t make something out of it” with strong and deliberate looks at the audience. It’s like Bell and this play are in cahoots, they know exactly what they’re talking about, even if you don’t.
Actors Daniel Llewelyn-Williams and Michael Edwards do a great job of keeping up with the pace of the play, which has the pair bouncing off each other and around the stage, in what makes for a manic hour of knockaround fun.
Directed by Mark Bell
Written by C J Hopkins
Produced by Flying Bridge Theatre Ltd
Presented by Guy Masterson – Theatre Tours International Ltd
Horse Country plays at EdFringe until 29 August. Further information and bookings here.