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Edinburgh Fringe 2021

Fear of Roses

Black Bat Productions

Genre: Drama, Fringe Theatre, Theatre

Venue: Assembly Roxy


Low Down

Tabby and Nikki share an office. Tabby is the dominant manager and makes this obvious from the get-go with a series of outlandish demands. When a mysterious caller, Keely, arrives demanding that Tabby provide her with £450,000 or the secrets of her rise to the top shall be spilled, Tabby takes part in a botched robbery hoping to pin the blame on Nikki. When it goes completely wrong, she takes revenge on the blackmailer only to discover all may not be as she first thought.


I enjoyed the experience of this as there is a lot of things in it which are filled with promise and potential. There are however, some issues around the script which gave this quite a difficult start. The macho relationship between two women in an office strained the relationships and gave us a bit of a clichéd toxic environment. From there the issue of the specific amount being asked for in the blackmail appeared quite odd. There were positives throughout however as the structure of some of the narratives was handled well and we did get the menace from Keely when she first arrived.

In terms of direction there was a reasonable hand upon the tiller but if you are going to try and depict a massage, it should last longer, phone calls should be in a reasonable time, or offstage, and the assault should require some choreography. The actors struggled at times against this lack of strong direction though each of the three of them showed great fortitude and were clearly very able. I felt they understood some of the nuances and could have pushed it further but elements were holding them back.

The set was functional but again having a side curtain for entrances/exits would have been better and the safe being in the same room and quite accessible appeared to be strange for a bank. Again, an offstage set up might have been more convincing. It made the sitting on a chair in the middle of their office to guard a whole building seem strange too. Without lighting demarcation, it again jarred.

I thought that a soundscape or some form of musical accompaniment would have enhanced things by heightening the tension or giving us the opportunity to notice something on the radio which was in keeping with the narrative or running counter to it. It was a minor point.

I did like this piece and felt it needed some more time in front of a live audience to find itself. There was nothing that made me fall out of love with it but there was quite a few that were minor issues with the possibility of giving the piece a much more positive opportunity.