Auditions

Performed with enthusiasm and a seemingly constant supply of energy, Auditions proves to be a surprisingly enjoyable hour of comedy in spite of its very rough edges. The play concerns itself with the casting, rehearsal and performance of a subpar play about auditions at the Fringe Festival, located in the narrow and ever so slightly worn setting of Underbelly’s Cowgatehead, and the various mishaps that befall them.

The play however does find its footing in its second half, where we are shown the fruits of the cast’s labour and the performance settles into the rhythms of a traditional farce

Divided in roughly two parts, the first dealing with the plays casting, the second focusing on the eventual performance, Auditions is an uneven experience. The first part of the play struggles to find its feet, with its actors becoming overly reliant on incredibly exaggerated facial expressions to belabour certain gags rather than letting jokes carry their own weight. The show is also very fond of breaking the fourth wall, with frequent nods to the audience, while recurring flashbacks and flashforwards only work to confuse the narrative. This is particularly annoying when the characters seem completely aware of these stage techniques and comment on them interrupting the plot. This seems to be done with the intention of making the play as ‘meta’ as humanly possible, but instead succeed only in making you scratch your head and question what on earth is meant to be happening onstage.

The play however does find its footing in its second half, where we are shown the fruits of the cast’s labour and the performance settles into the rhythms of a traditional farce. Here the jokes really begin to hit home, planted character traits bear fruit and there are some truly laugh-out-loud moments as the onstage ‘performance’ descends into complete anarchy. The talents of the cast really do come to the fore. The script reveals a wonderful sense of humour in constructing scenarios that make anyone even passingly familiar with performing cringe, whether line loops, poor script-reading, or overacting that would make Matt Berry Blush.

Despite a less-than-promising first half, it becomes more enjoyable as the show progresses. Auditions is by no means a perfect play, but it is an enjoyable hour with a clearly talented cast of performers; a trimmed script without its indulgent tics or fourth-wall breaks, focusing instead on the good quality farce, may bring forth even better shows in the future.  

Reviews by Joseph McAulay

Pleasance Courtyard

Great British Mysteries: 1599?

★★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

Kill the Beast: Director's Cut

★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

No Kids

★★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

Dietrich: Natural Duty

★★★★
Summerhall

DollyWould

★★★★
Traverse Theatre

Ulster American

★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Probably the most meta show at this year’s Fringe, ‘Auditions’ is a hilarious new play about taking a play to the Fringe with the hysterical mishaps of auditions, plays and everything in between. 7 nominations and 3 wins at the Durham Drama Festival.