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Edinburgh Fringe 2022


Hope Mill Theatre

Genre: Classical and Shakespeare, Comedy

Venue: Pleasance Courtyard - Pleasance One


Low Down

Forty- two classic texts in one hour is the task set by themselves to beat the Guinness Book of World Records’ record for the most texts performed in one hour, which was set by a Russian Theatre Company. And form there we romp on, whilst tensions in the cast mount as we get Moby Dick, Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice – as a silent movie – Black Beauty, Oliver Twist, Tess of the D’Urbervilles – as a Barber Shop Quartet before running out of steam and having to pack in the rest as part of a variety led fun filled hour of nonsense and making history.


Given the fact that so many shortened versions and comic interpretations of classics are out there, if you are going to do this, it needs to be very good. And this has its moments but tending to use the 42 in one hour begs a question halfway through – how is that going to happen? The structure appears right but it could have had the shorter versions spread out to allow there to be a real feeling that this might be the time I was getting to my fourth almost full version of a classic I was losing faith in the premise.
The performances, however, are slick. Each of the actors have something to give beyond just the telling of the tales, they know how to get it across with never flags, there is plenty of pace and whilst I might have lost faith with the concept, I was never unsure of the performance itself.
It is well directed using tremendous amounts of props and scenery whilst also using the audience liberally whilst taking liberties with the classics. It uses all theatre arts effectively and special mention to the costume department who have kitted the whole thing out with plenty to admire. Can I just say, in the midst of stripped down and bare stages, that it is great to see a set and plenty of usable props.
Song and music are central and playing live gives the added dimension necessary to keep pace and push onwards. The Barber Shop Quarter were a particular highlight.
The audience loved this and for the most part, so did I. it is slick and polished and if its type is good. I could have enjoyed it more had it found a better vehicle than the world record attempt but by the end few were concerned as to making the book as they were!