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FringeReview Scotland 2016

20 Plays in 40 minutes

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Drama Students

Genre: Comedy, Contemporary, Devised, Drama, Experimental, Fringe Theatre, New Writing, Theatre

Venue: Sloans Bar, Argyle Street, Glasgow


Low Down

Our guide and erstwhile director, William takes us through a collective effort that allows for 21, not just 20, plays that are available for viewing. As part of a neo futurist collective, this is a group of actors who are in the present, being themselves and taking us through some rehearsed madcap nonsense and observation. We are treated to some Hollywood mickey taking, some things we wish we had poignantly said and running with scissors.


We enter to actors dancing, one giving us name badges that seem to never be used again and one of the interpreters warming up. It begins with the host, William explaining the format and the three rules of neo futurism. From then one we embark on a well worn path but with new material. This is a piece with which there is much to do as we see 21 pieces presented in such a short space of time.

This was always going to be patchy. The idea is hardly new but there is allowed some scope for inventiveness. That there was some inventiveness was welcome and the gusto of the performers did not, at any time wane. My favourites included The Duck Knight, Skype: My Greatest Love Affair, Perfect Day, Things I Wish I’d Said, Neo’s Create a Hollywood Blockbuster and The Compliment Game. 40 Cents of Every Dollar Spent has legs and should have time invested in it. As for the rest, a day or so later I am struggling to remember their impact.

The structure worked well, the technical effects came together and overall this was a package worth spending time opening. The acting was always as presentationally sound as was required with vignettes that lasted less than 5 minutes each. A; we were never going to get lost in the narrative and B we were never going to invest too much in the characters onstage – even if they were the actors, playing themselves.

Where it lost me a little was the neo futurists bit. I was vaguely aware of their existence and their 25-year anniversary having been recent but did it add anything to this piece? I don’t think so and there may be a bit of a debate as to whether this qualified as a neo futurists pieces. – is picking the order of the show the extent of interaction required?

Mind you this was an ensemble I found myself tempted to return to later in the week so perhaps my concern was less encompassing than at the time.

Overall then a package that attempted to make some form of comment on our lives, the lives of others and the politics of our times. Like many in the audience I had my favourites and a few that I wouldn’t mind seeing extended into a longer piece. The enthusiasm with which we were taken through that 40 minutes perhaps hid the issues that were there and highlighted the joy with which each piece was presented. There is however, much still remaining to be done.