Edinburgh Fringe 2016
We meet Derek and Patricia whose love is interrupted by Harry, Johnson and Lexy whose love is interrupted by infidelity and Robbie, Emmy and Penelope whose love is doomed by shallowness. In a series of scenes that take us through young love, the disaster of a breakup under the terms of betrayal and how one man can just want two women and a Nando’s card we explore and uncover not much new but plenty to say about love and its unfortunate effects.
We have 8 actors onstage chorally introducing us to the themes of the evening ahead. A sound like a school “bell” announces a break into the scenes. Once they break it motors and we begin first with, how Harry Stiles gets in the way of Derek’s love for Patricia. Patricia, who is sooooooo in love with Harry and who is sooooooo her soul mate – he told her with his eyes – starts out with Derek, keeps dumping him until the genius of Derek is revealed and the man with no words but plenty to say wins her over. I think Derek and Patricia deserve a sitcom. They were fantastic, the script was great and their interactions, whilst a little predictable at times, did not suffer from that. It also sat very well within the context of the whole piece – much praise is deserved for the young Derek who said nothing but spoke volumes like a veteran on a stage – how to steal scenes and do little.
We then caught up with Lexy who caught Johnson in the midst of an affair. This was clearly the more serious side of the issues presented and both actors caught the moods and the tension very well indeed. Of course you quickly got onto one side whilst hoping that there might be a resolution for both – the reality was a refreshing one. I thought as a piece of drama it was well observed and well captured – a good counterpoint to the rest of the piece.
The final duo, which became a threesome of sorts – Robbie, Emmy and Penelope – had a fantastic beginning. The scene in bed knocked it out the park for me and it stayed roughly on the same level throughout. With the 21st Century being all about sexual liberty the refreshing chauvinism and shallowness shown was breath taking at times. Whilst you might have wanted to scream at either girl to warn them, you just wanted self realisation to dawn – oh and it did! The irony of it all falling apart when Robbie ends up with someone almost as shallow as himself was not lost on us. It was finely tuned and well delivered.
Overall this is a young company who have taken a piece of theatre and turned it into something that I think is within their knowledge base and not beyond them. You can feel that they have suffered or seen this close at hand; it speaks from a degree of experience that they share. Often young companies struggle to find something dramatic enough to play and end up in cliché ridden cutting edge drama that is blunt. Here it was finely observed and performed with a degree of expertise that shows good skill and decent direction.
The piece had music which was both ironic and fitting between each scene, changes were crisp and efficient and all that you could ask from a fringe piece. I did think, however that the space at C Nova caused some issues with sight lines. Of course being in a very small box can be problematic but just a little tweak with where the boxes sit could help. The choral movement and reactions were not always big enough but you know what – this all bodes well for a terrific set of performers who work each other well and give the audience plenty to smile about.
And they are nice kids too – Robbie was on the Royal Mile on Monday and agreed to have his photo taken with the young person who was with me – she has it on her wall, and it made me want to go and review it so here’s the payback for keeping your mind on getting an audience in.