‘Entertaining but let down by its structure’: BINGO! – Touring ★★★

In Musicals, Regional theatre, Reviews, Scotland, Touring by Thom DibdinLeave a Comment

Touring – Assembly Hall, Edinburgh
Guest reviewer: Hugh Simpson

A musical about women at the bingo would seem a natural for a warm-hearted, reassuringly couthy comedy. Instead, Bingo! ends up as a much swearier, somewhat darker affair that provides entertainment but is let down by its structure.

Stellar Quines and Grid Iron’s collaboration is set in the bingo hall where travel agent Daniella is hoping for a big win that will get her out of a ‘bad thing’ she has done. Johnny McKnight and Anita Vettesse’s script, with songs by Alan Penman, also features her mother, her oldest friend and bingo hall employees in a series of events that defy paraphrase – or, indeed, rational explanation. Which is fun, but not necessarily as good as it sounds.

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The involvement of Grid Iron might lead some to expect a more ‘site-specific’ performance, but even those many bingo halls that are in gorgeous old picture houses would struggle