Edinburgh Fringe 2013
"Rundown scholar Marshall arrives in the birthplace of a beautiful international film star, to interview a friend on the nature of celebrity for an upcoming book. On his first night there he falls from a balcony on to his face… at the exact same time the beautiful film star dies in a car crash. Former Royal Court Young Writer and 2012 Broadcast Hot Shot Laura Neal’s journey into a dystopian world of surgical enhancement and celebrity obsession peels back the skin of modern media culture in this hilarious satire on the notion of fame."
So . . .another student play at the fringe ? . . . a good opportunity to sleep off that hangover ?
Well no actually – Fifteen minutes – is actually a great 12.15 wake up call.
When you realise this piece is written by Laura Neil (coming up/secret diary of a call girl) specifically with this group of actors n mind and endorsed by none other than Dame Judi Dench you have to sit up and take notice.
The story : without giving too much away , we are in a town obsessed by the success of local girl Lena Wiseman – so much so that even the police force try to assume her likeness, one officer going so far as to have Lena style breast implants. The town is awaiting the return of their hero when disaster strikes – at almost the same moment a visiting journalist has the misfortune to fall off a balcony, horribly disfiguring his face, the town’s heroine is involved in a fatal car accident. From then on we find out how need for fame can infect and pervert society, it seems anything can become fashionable, dating an insect, yes I said an insect, and even murder.
From the start it is apparent that this play is not meant to be acted by some veteran troupe , in fact who better to bring us a story of crazed celebrity worship than a bunch of 16-18 year olds who have grown in a world steeped with the stuff .
The production is anything but immature; the casts talents are employed wisely – we are treated to a fine study in black comedy, choreographed sections and even real non- recorded live musicianship – I would be very surprised if we do not see at least a few of these faces at the fringe next year. The use of space both on and offstage is clever and the use of live audio visual imagery throughout is very effective giving the production truely professional edge.
Fifteen minutes promised to be the best comedy about facial reconstruction surgery I’d ever see – it did not lie.