Monday, August 08, 2011

"Commencement" - Edinburgh Fringe 2011

TheatreM provide an entertaining look at the unforeseen consequences when a group of students follow their teacher’s advice to “Think Global; Act Local”. They're starting a revolution.

Brent Boyd’s writing is lean and focussed, generating plenty of laughs while making a point or two along the way. As with many 'issue raising' plays it does veer slightly towards the 'preachy' but it isn't a huge problem. The direction from Douglas Lowry and Anne Scarbrough is as slick as you are likely to see in any ‘black box’ space at this year’s Fringe - the large ensemble are perfectly drilled and the moments when our attention shifts to events elsewhere are adeptly handled. The core cast all give strong performances and succeed in creating a believable group of friends (with all the usual internal cliques and rivalries).

There is a danger that it’s too entertaining for its own good and risks smothering some of the more subtle issues raised. In particular, the students’ claims that the world is a worse place now than when the teacher was their age, don’t quite get the attention they deserve.

So many shows get the whole ‘darkly comic’ vibe badly wrong, but this one really delivers on both counts.

Commencement runs at C in Chambers Street until 20th August (not 15th) at 1.15pm