On top of the breakfast (croissant, coffee and strawberries), there is a handful of ten-minute theatre pieces that are eccentric, funny and outrageous. This is a show that boasts a faithful following, whose dedication to the annual production bespeaks the undeniable quality on offer by the bite-size plays. They are, indeed, seriously good; there is no better way to spend breakfast at the Fringe.
There is just the right blend of smugness and complicity for these sketches to be consummate, and yet, concise
A rotation of three theatre ‘menus’ showcases a different set of bite-size plays each day. The set I saw (Menu 1) has six plays, including some audience-friendly absurdist theatre and some hilarious Python-esque comedy skits. In Surprise, a psychic keeps surprising everyone with his ability to look two minutes ahead, much to the frustration of his girlfriend as he keeps finishing her sentences, even her decision to break up with him. All You’ll Ever Want is another crowd-pleaser. Set in a futuristic world, an unnamed company has all your shopping history and preferences online, and ends up shipping you an infinite amount of desired goods to our doorstep, stripping you of financial control. There is just the right blend of smugness and complicity for these sketches to be consummate, and yet, concise.
The selection of Thrilling Hostage Melodrama at High Speeds with Pineapple displays some incredible acting, with the pineapple-hostage-dummy a nice foil for the bloodthirsty interrogator, which leaves you wonder what would happen to a real hostage. Coming after Broken, which is another play about interrogation and torture, the entire show feels topical and urgent, presenting the dark side of an entirely hidden society which we know, deep down, exists alongside the one we live in. The show ends with a slightly cliched play that feels a step-down from the experimental writing that came before. Ten Reasons Why Hamlet Was Gay is set in a high school classroom, which solicits easy laughs at the expense of three Essex teenagers who have a precocious interpretation of Shakespeare and Old English. Yet any flaws are soon forgotten as you get on with your day, and you leave the venue thinking about some stunning scenes from some very experimental performances, all condensed and compiled in a handy one-hour show.