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Edinburgh Fringe 2015

The Cupboard

Turn the Key

Genre: Drama, Fringe Theatre, New Writing, Theatre

Venue: Paradise in the Vault


Low Down

A rat enters a cupboard and finds themselves in a Gothic disaster with the existing residents of the cupboard – a sack, cuckoo clock, broom and boot. Having got in through the floorboards this is all existential horror as the rat ends up being rejected from their new home as the owner might return, may be famous or may be dead – all is suggested horrifically in the space of an hour.


There is much to admire about this performance. The storyline has enough twists to keep you guessing whilst the performances are both enthusiastic and fantastic. There is a true spirit from this cast of wanting to do the words justice and this is particularly impressive in a tale, targeted at adults where gothic horror is the theme. From a rat, a broom and a sack we are taken on a tour of an enclosed space that is perhaps about our own fears as much as theirs. Once the cuckoo intervenes and the boot arrives, we get all horrid in the ending where the rat does not end up in the cupboard.

I began by wondering whether this was targeted at children and I have to say it took a while before I was clear about the unsuitability of it being seen by my weans. Once I had that out the way the universality of the themes and the joy of just seeing a decent artistic performance came over me with some relief. I do think it has an uneven texture in the script which means you do spend a little time feeling that it is perhaps mistimed but once you get the horror it works splendidly.

The use of song does make the narrative go a little faster but did add a little to the confusion. The set was functional rather than hugely creative but we got the sense of claustrophobia needed to motor things along.

This was a young company, to be thoroughly commended on doing something different in a venue which I have always thought works when artists put on something that needs you to feel trapped. This has already won some plaudits and I think with a few tweaks here and there could win a lot more. It is a great idea and a series of these could give us more than a horrible history mixed with unfortunate events which might just provide us with some modern classics – a company to keep your eye on.