Middle-aged David works for the local council, fancies the Polish girl in accounts, and is taking part in SETI@Home (searching for extraterrestrial life)… And he’s a Doctor Who fan!
This is a superbly energetic and engaging one-man show performed by Martin Stewart with a handful of props, some well placed atmospheric sound effects and a whole lot of passion. He immediately delineates the character of David and engages with the audience within moments of bounding on to stage, launching an engaging drama that works whether you know your Doctor Who trivia or not.
There are several strands to the narrative he cleverly unfolds, from unrequited love to mourning over the loss of a parent, from genuine awe at the immensity of the universe to nostalgia for the days of youthful abandon at the fun fair or, indeed, watching 1970s Doctor Who.
There are jokes here that only Who fans will get, such as a reference to “Sutekh’s bum hand”, Begonia Pope, the fate of Omega, and the co-ordinates of Gallifrey (and an additional comment about Peter Capaldi Doctor Who underpants from the year 2023!). However, if you don’t know that stuff, there’s so much more to The Pyramids of Margate to enjoy, and the trivia doesn’t get in the way. There’s a proper drama here, with a beginning, middle and end. Stewart cleverly uses the virtual bare stage space to feature him commenting on the drama, taking part in a scene and then switching to a flashback, all by using the space, and all in an easy-to-follow manner.
The second of at least four Doctor Who-related shows on the Fringe this year, The Pyramids of Margate is very different from I Need A Doctor—The Unauthorised Whosical Adventure, but it is just as good, and well worth catching. Another highly recommended show.
Verdict: Fun, dramatic and moving, and easily enjoyed by those who don’t get the Doctor Who references…
The Pyramids of Margate: 8/10
Brian J. Robb