Colla Voce Theatre are ones to watch. Tucked quietly away among the busy programme this new production officially swept me off my feet. You and I is the hidden gem of the Fringe.
Fran is a struggling musician who’s fallen into mild depression after unexpectedly losing her big sister. Confined to the safety of her flat share, she is living a mundane and uneventful life. Until, Number 244 is delivered right to her door that is. Robert, as he is named, is an advanced artificial intelligence robot programmed to help Fran find happiness. And it’s together that they both discover a lot more to life than expected.
If you’re interested in new musicals, my favourite of the Edinbirugh Fringe was Islander – a beautiful folk musical.
The first show to invoke a tear
I shed a tear or three. The young girl next to me balled her eyes out. Fran’s relationship with Robert becomes incredibly touching and the loss of her sister is utterly heart breaking. The everyday characters surrounding her are so relatable, you can’t help but crack a smile. The story is understated perfection.
The Sara Bareilles tingles
The score has a base of soft pop, sprinkling of indie and dash of country twang. There’s no big jazz number or diva ballad here. It’s simple, uncomplicated gorgeousness. Lindsay Manion is a suitably awkward and likeable Fran, with the perfect tone to lead this show. Part of me wonders why she doesn’t have a record contract?
Laurence Hunt absolutely nails Robert, with his Siri perfected voice, automatic movements and wide eyed innocence. We all need a Number 244 in our lives. Will Taylor delivers an excitable and bright performance as Fran’s ex-beau Ian whilst Cara Withers and Martha Furniva skilfully change comedic roles throughout.
An endearing, heartwarming and life affirming story. You and I is the beautiful musical everyone needs to see.