Monday, August 08, 2011

"Beef" - Edinburgh Fringe 2011

In the Fringe programme, "Beef" describes itself as "A witty and radical reinvention of Noah's Ark."

Not even close. Even for regular theatre and Fringe-goers like us, this was hard going. God help a poor unwary soul looking to fill a gap in their schedule who falls for the publicity. This is the kind of show that gives the Fringe a bad name.

That sounds dreadfully unfair of us, but we have to report we have absolutely no idea what this was about. We got the 'strangers forced together by circumstance' aspect; we got the 'marriage in trouble' stuff; but the significance of the biblical flooding and the cow related prophecies (yes, really) left us bemused (and in Waldorf's case dozing off).

And it had all started so promisingly, with a pidgin english retelling of how the post-flood world had taken shape. But once we travel back to the events of that evening, things deteriorate sharply. Why has Mark been chosen to receive visions and lead the small group of survivors? What's his relationship with the pregnant Kate? Why have these people been saved? What's with the wooden boxes? Where did Seb come from? Who was broadcasting details of the group's location on the radio? Why is Friday dying? And why is she called Friday? All these questions and many more won't be answered.

There is one redeeming element in some effective use of movement and music - but it's nowhere near enough.

We don't like being so negative about a show, but sometimes it's unavoidable.

Beef, from Nottingham New Theatre runs at C Soco until 29th August
Image used with permission

3 Heckles

Anonymous said...

This reviewer gave it five stars. Perhaps you are missing the point...I left the show intrigued by the unanswered questions and thought the acting was superb!

Statler said...

Everything we say is purely personal opinion, and we don't always agree with each other - never mind anyone else. In this case we were united in our response to the show.

And we weren't alone - Broadway Baby gave it 1 star.

But we're glad to hear others enjoyed it.

Carolyn said...

I saw it yesterday and thought it was excellent. I understand your points and agree there are some unanswered questions, but for me the quality of the acting and writing overcame any uncertainties. The ending was a bit abrupt, but nonetheless, this was easily the best of the five shows I saw yesterday.