Edinburgh Fringe 2021
The residents of a cul de sac are in lockdown. They try on a Monday night to have a zoom quiz to keep their spirits up but before this coming week’s session, there are a couple of people who are calling up to find out if the residents are in and if Bruce or Hamish is there. There is of course no Bruce or Hamish, though one resident has a brother who once came to stay called Hamish Bruce! The ruse is, of course, to find out if the residents are in the house and if not, then they are the target of a robbery. But this connected community have plenty of people who, puzzled by the phone calls, wish to discuss the phone calls, making them hyper aware. Apart from one garden gnome that was stolen and then returned, the robbers are remarkably unsuccessful, and they soon realise the error of their ways. Their epiphany removed any jeopardy for the rest of the residents, gnomes or not.
This is quite an interesting take on the pandemic and is enriched by being a little less than obvious. We are not dealing with the usual socially aware pandemic issues, and it is no less dramatic for that. It has a charm, and the enthusiasm of the Makars comes across.
There has clearly been a lot of work gone into this with a group who are mainly, but not exclusively, old enough to be presumed challenged by technology. The script make slight of that, especially with an ending that plays that out to great effect.
Whilst the performers are all creating this piece through enthusiasm rather than a career choice it kept me there for the whole time. The change in the thieves, though a little less than convincing, was part of the approach which worked well enough. This is not deep and meaningful dramatically but has depth and meaning for the participants which communicates across the film.
That is what made it a delight to see. It has been filmed well, though the sound quality at times is a little off as phone calls and conversations can merge, and we get one started before we the other is finished. This is a creative response that is admirable, and I can but doff my cap to the efforts in bringing this to the Fringe online platform.