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The Stefan Golaszewski Plays

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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This double-bill of monologues, both first seen at the Edinburgh Fringe (this year and last) provides a fine showcase of the inventive talents of its writer/performer.

First up is Stefan Golaszweksi Speaks About A Girl He Once Loved, which, plot-wise, is pretty much summed up by the title. It's a touching piece, in which Golaszweksi shows a sharp ear for the vernacular of a nervous 18-year-old struggling to describe finding love for the first time - "she's sleek as a ... duck".

With the aid of occasional voice-over and some neat visual aids (you'll never guess what's in the suitcase), this first play is a touching account of the experience of finding, and losing, something which will never be replaced. Whether true or not, Golaszweksi speaks as a version of himself, even though the calculated intelligence behind his rabbit-in-headlights eyes is clear to see.

In the second play, Stefan Golaszewski Is A Widower, he imagines himself as an old man, in 2056, looking back on his troubled marriage to 'Pudding', who he clearly obsesses over every inch as much as Betty, the object of his affections in the first play. When the marriage breaks down due to the cot-death of their first child, he examines what it must feel like to be a "clingy" husband with nothing left to cling to.

Something about this second piece doesn't ring true, and not just because of the clichéd 'future' gags Golaszweksi insists on inserting ("He supported Yeovil - 'cause that's original!" is probably the pick of a distinctly average bunch). The decision to theme everything white is also rather glib, and distracts from what is in fact a moving meditation on death and the changing nature of lifelong relationships.

Watching the two plays back to back is a rather gruelling experience, as there are few moments to catch your breath in either. But credit to Golaszweksi (more used to performing sketch comedy with his group Cowards) for maintaining the momentum and showing, like Daniel Kitson, that the boundaries between stand-up and theatre can be blurred to spectacular effect.

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