Theatre review: I Lost My Virginity to Chopin’s Nocturne in B-Flat Minor, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

A camembert and ketamine romance

Ollie and Laura make a likeable odd couple. Picture: Contributed

I Lost My Virginity to Chopin’s Nocturne in B-Flat Minor, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh * * * *

A great, if wordy title, for this terrific little two-hander. Ollie – Sebastian Gardner, who also wrote the piece – is buttoned up, privately educated, self-conscious. A teacher’s assistant with a taste for ketamine, swinging from apologetic to angry, he’s cute in spite of himself. Laura’s got Essex eyeliner, likes an argument, is frankly sexy and possessive. Played by Lily Sinko, she likes to prove he’s come from privilege, but we watch her falling for his charm, even as she tells him to man up. He bakes his camembert; her family go to Wetherspoons.

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It’s all set for sexually charged combat, between Chopin and crispy duck take-aways, with X-rated language for mid-afternoon, but delivering some shockingly funny tit-for-tats.

It is swimming in sex talk, which feels fresh to me in these first days of the Fringe, though with a lot more of it to come on the review road if previous years are anything to go by. Sinko occasionally overdoes the grumpy stamping, but it’s boldly directed by Ami Okumura Jones.

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On a set strewn with clothes, they set to, like the long married, rather than young things.

There’s a nice shift from light to dark in their quarrels, from funny and shouty to hateful, damaging speech, scratching up feelings along with favourite records. I’d prescribe this show for a bit of short sharp relationship counselling; we’re rooting for Ollie and Laura from the get-go.

Until 26 August