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Edinburgh Fringe 2023

Meat Boy

LS6 Theatre

Genre: Comedy, Storytelling, Theatre

Venue: thespace on the mile


Low Down

Fred was once a child in year 9 who was told by his music teacher with a nut allergy, Mr. P. Noot that he could not play the recorder. In a mission for revenge, as a Barista, Fred now hopes to Hazelnut syrup Mr. Noot to death, and once successful, tries to hide himself – the body seems to have hidden itself. That is, until Fred finds himself face to face with his past.


We begin with Fred onstage alone showing just how you should eat a sausage roll – if you want rid of it as quickly as possible. With not one but two narrators, you get the feeling that Fred’s story may actually be quite a complex one. The bumptious nature of Mr. P. Noot is then brought into play, and you can see just why Fred wanted him dead. It is the quality of both the set up and also the writing that establishes this so nicely.

The premise is particularly good because, rather than spend time trying to come up with something which is current or topical, this is up to date because it avoids the pitfalls of cliché. It is a wholly original piece of theatre.

It has been well directed with an eye on how to not only provide us with Fred as a man of a certain age who is still stuck at home, but also his interplay with the two narrators. This works really well and sets up the scenes which follow. It is a heady mix when the set up and the pay off work so comfortably.

As Mr. P. Noot, Rory O’Dwyer is a bit of a tour de force. The snootiness is well observed and his interaction with Fred – a very good Austin Keane who warms into the role as the show progresses –reminds me of quite a few teachers from my past. It is done without resorting to any form of cliché.

As for the narrators, Jen Finlay and Phoebe Sanders do that very difficult thing of not being a character but never being anonymous either. Their interplay is finely managed with some nice work and interplay when Fred misbehaves.  The plot, which is absurd, is played straight. The idea that anyone would think it reasonable that they should take the slight as a child, form an adult, and then  kill their tormentor is perhaps a step, but carrying it out is the step too far. Having fed their victim with the syrup, Fred then tries to stash the body. From there, the script takes us through him discovering that the place he stashed the body in a wee office, is now missing, leading him to going on the run – stop going to work and hide in your bedroom at your mum is a poor attempt – delivers it straight and makes it much funnier.

Technically there is little besides the lighting changes but again this is handled well. What is most impressive is that the space is clearly in the mind of the director, and we get a piece of theatre which fits the space. Understanding not just what you want to get across to your audience as well as what the message is supposed to be is a singular skill and here it is delivered beautifully.

Overall, this was a student theatre piece with some very able and mature heads screwed on top. It shows some really well regarded skill in understanding the format but what is also very impressive is that the team have brought together an original piece of theatre which not only puts their ability on display, but provides hilarious relief from the unremitting gloom of our times.

You could be forgiven for thinking that theatre is something that the young all want to spend time dancing and singing across a stage doing, but here the fact that the wit and wisdom has instead been spent on something far more original, far more difficult and far more effective has paid off.


Show Website

LS6 Theatre