Edinburgh Fringe 2020
Quirky short film with an idea of how to handle pandemic isolation
Craig stars Phil Herd as Craig, a character fighting the boredom and restrictions of the current pandemic. It is a story of a young man by himself with nothing to do, nowhere to go, and missing his family.
With no way to interact with friends or family, Craig needs a solution. And he finds one, right in his fruit basket – an orange, who does all of the things that a friend would do. Craig and the orange engage in typical kid activities, like playing a video game or going out to the garden, making up adventures along the way. There are humorous moments yet some underlying sadness, as Craig’s isolation is reinforced in various scenes.
But what happens when Craig gets hungry and is tempted by the orange? What is loyalty? You have to watch the film to find out.
The short piece, about eight minutes, is filmed mostly in Craig’s living room, with some additional outdoor footage. We only see the main character, which reinforces the loneliness that he is experiencing. There is good use of his theme song, “I want a friend who also wants me, isolation has been really lonely”, strummed on a ukulele. Other music is strategically used for dramatic effect.
There are shades of Tom Hanks in the film Cast Away, and his friendship with Wilson, the volleyball. Both Cast Away and Craig rely on humour, but Craig is more peppered with silly scenarios that will tickle a kid’s funny bone. Both deal with isolation and its effect on mental health, which is an especially topical subject as parents are weighing the need for children to be social against the possible health risks of returning to classrooms this fall. Children can relate to the lack of friends to play with during these pandemic times.
The Juicy Orange troupe hails from Australia. In 2019, they produced their first Edinburgh Fringe show, Topsy and Turvy’s Twisty Turny Journey. They had intended to return to perform live in 2020, but the pandemic changed their plans. They took this turn of events as inspiration for the new work, Craig. I look forward to seeing their full-scale show at next year’s Fringe. Given a theatre and an audience, the troupe will have an opportunity to be more effective and engaging.