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Review: Saving Freddie (the) Fox in Phoebe, King's Head Theatre #Festival46

E J Martin as Phoebe

Phoebe (EJ Martin) is a quiet sales assistant in an opticians whose outlook on life seems slightly out of step to those around her. Her sister Ingrid (Louise Torres-Ryan) is the favoured child, always busy working for a charity while Phoebe is the one who heads home every Sunday for the family dinner, for all the thanks she gets. Freddie, their brother, has gone missing and that is a concern for Phoebe.

But that isn't the only thing Phoebe has to worry about. A neighbour wants to call in pest control to deal with an urban fox which she feeds and has named... Freddie. As she tries to find one Freddie and keep another hidden, Phoebe has to convince her family that she can stand on her own two feet, fortunately she has a new friend the gentle and awkward Paul (Loz Keystone) to help her.

There are some nice segments of dialogue which are well observed and snappily written - the mother who causes a fuss while loudly proclaiming not to is particularly amusing. The family dynamic is stereotypical sit-com: overbearing mother, spineless father that follows her lead and put upon child. However, there are elements that will no doubt ring true. Given the nature of their parents it is easy to understand why Ingrid stays away.

The brother Freddie storyline feels a little under developed - it is easy to surmise what has happened to him early on and so it becomes an exercise in waiting for Phoebe to catch up. 

Phoebe is a frustrating character at times and at others utterly charming, which sums up the play. The dialogue doesn't always naturally flow and there are some awkward, clunky moments but equally there are segments that are funny and poignant so I'm going to give it three and a half stars. There are performances on July 23, 26 and 30 at the King's Head Theatre and it is 60 minutes without interval.

* Weather warning: The King's Head doesn't have air con but there are ceiling fans which do make a bit of a difference during this warm weather but it is a good idea to get a large cold drink to take in with you.