FringeReview Scotland 2014
Royal Conservatoire students in their annual showcase – this year entitled On the Verge – deliver a short forty minutes mixed musical and acting performance with the focus being on how the media and culture may corrupt or corrupt absolutely our young. We see a fresh faced young girl wanting her father to notice her on her 13th birthday visited by 5 liberated women who take her on a voyage of discovery through song and dodgy lyrics that ends with her father noticing her and noticing that it may be too late.
We are introduced to the 5 “Vamps” who have their own intro before we have revealed that this sweet and innocent 12 year old, all bobby socks and cute dimples, can’t get her father to notice her. She sings of how the only thing a sweet and innocent young girl could possibly wish for is daddy spending time with her. One by one the “Vamps” arrive and it is time for the party to get started. Between tweeting the changes and getting the drink down the neck they turn this young head, help it with its make up and launch her into the teenage years. Daddy returns to be perplexed and unsure that what is now in his house was what was there when he left that morning.
You have to admire the gusto and the energy that went into this performance. There is no doubt that if anyone knows how the young get corrupted it is the young themselves. What we got treated to was a singing rendition of corruption that mixed popular song with a narrative that seemed to be “If you think I am bad, wait till you meet her.”
For me though the young sweet and innocent girl was a tad too young and innocent and the American accent with that Scottish father was never explained. It was these small narrative gaps that caused problems with the piece as you lost faith slightly in its telling. It’s also a minor gripe but one that in the profession, others shall be quick upon which to pounce. All the “Vamps” were convincing to a point. It just needed to be tighter and with a lot more confidence. There were times that, as an audience, we seemed to be hopeful they could hit a note or get through a sequence. Again a minor gripe because in the main the performances were good.
The music added to the narrative and fitted well though at times nerves got the better of delivery. The set was basic and I have no doubt that these student stretched shoestring to breaking point.
It was a good 40 minutes that certainly entertained but I neither felt on the edge of much nor really understood beyond what a Daily Mail reader might about the nature of media corruption. There is no doubt that this company of young performers have hit upon a very clever idea. The problem is that either it needs explained or it needs pushed further. I would go for the latter as this group could certainly surpass what it is simply clever and give us something rather spectacular.