FringeReview Scotland 2016
There are four people leaving our shores on a massive tanker. The captain has agreed to take them for a price, as they are fleeing the economic chaos behind them in London. The end of the good times has arrived and these four characters, dressed as if they were on a cruise have to survive with their prejudices intact on the high seas. The possibility of hijack and abandonment follow before the final reveal shows us all that it was all not what it seemed and the solution appears as difficult to swallow as the question.
David Leddy does not do dull. It is one of the joys of going to Fire Exit that no matter what, it shall neither be conventional nor staid; it shall always be interesting. As I left the final performance of the tour and the audience’s curtain calls continued to ring in my ears I was still debating the effect of the evening. Long ago I had decided that Leddy was some form of evil genius who just liked to toy with us but this was something more disconcerting.
Perhaps it was the fact I saw it in a conventional venue and it was more mainstream than I wanted of my Leddy, perhaps it was just not my cup of tea or was it simply, I’m sorry David, it’s not you – it’s me.
We got a fantastic set of performances from an ensemble cast who never put a foot wrong. The set was cabin cruise with a touch of industrial whilst the costumes were all 1930’s and simply sumptuous. Technically though I found it too loud though the sound effects worked and being integrated with the action made them the right side of clever without being the wrong side of obtrusive.
It was very well directed, crisp and even with the right dollop of pathos and perverse panic throughout. The problem I realised was two fold. Firstly, it was the storyline. I could buy into the premise but thereafter, particularly the ending, was too neat and too tidy. There were loose ends that did not work out and left you wondering why. I just was not as convinced as I have been with other pieces in Mr Leddy’s cannon.
Then there was the disease that led to the inevitable and I found it a tad crass and unnecessary. The utter humiliation afforded to each of the characters before the end would have been better managed with some verbal dexterity than bowel voiding.
And yet I cannot condemn a piece that made me think. Had this been about setting the intelligentsia and economic tax dodgers away as refugees to see how they liked it with no food, lack of sanitation, privacy and all to ready access to a number of methods of killing yourself then I could have got this a lot more. As it was the elaborate ending which tied it all together lost me. I have thought long and hard about my reaction and why I would recommend it to someone else – which I am and I would – and it is because it was thought provoking and had enough insight to make me feel that next time out the Leddy bandwagon shall be back on my track and we can travel along together again… but then again it may just be me and not you…