Barge Baby

After the success of ‘League of St George’ last year, Bricks and Mortar Theatre are back with their second Edinburgh Fringe production Barge Baby. However, despite a drug laced cake, a birth on a canal boat and singing mallards, Barge Baby is surprisingly tepid at best.

Set on a tattered canal boat in the 90’s, the stereotypically hippy Callow family have come together for a birth.

Set on a tattered canal boat in the 90’s, the stereotypically hippy Callow family have come together for a birth. However it’s not all plain sailing for the unconventional family as Mary and Glenn’s marriage is on the rocks and Mary is not prepared to go down with this ship. The ensuing argument accumulates with party girl Ruby attempting to feed her parents a drug laced cake, which of course gets eaten by the wrong person. And just like the cake is laced with drugs- their seemingly laid back, happy lives are laced with underlying paranoia and discontentment as the presence of their neighbour Dika rocks the boat. With the birth of the new family member the tides are turning and the Callows are forced to engage with reality as they are thrust into modern times.

To call the acting standard average would be being generous. The actors seemed to struggle with understanding both their characters and the script resulting in a forced atmosphere, lack of energy and one dimensional characters. However, most of the fault lies with the mundane script- which just didn’t hold water and clearly needs a lot of work in order to be shipshape.The play was slow paced and struggled to keep the audience engaged. A couple of performances that stood out were Georgia Bliss as daughter Ruby and Rory Campbell as the clueless soon to be father Patrick, who were getting the most laughs out of the audience- although they were definitely still lacking any real depth.The live band of mallards singing psychedelic pop songs was completely quackers and it was unclear what they were trying to add to the play- apart from distraction from clumsy scene changes.

Although the actors definitely have potential Barge Baby did not float my boat and overall the production was a bit of a shipwreck. Bricks and Mortar should not be getting their hopes up for another Fringe success this year as that ship has sailed.

Reviews by Amanda Fleet

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The Blurb

The second coming from NSDF award-winning, five-star rated, Offie-nominated company. It's the start of a new decade and the Callow family reunite in their unconventional home for a very special birth. The love boat that was once so sweet has filled with bitterness. The freethinking hippie youths of the 70s have spawned the liberal kids of the 90s. Barge Baby; a claustrophobic family drama. All observed by a live band of mischievous musical mallards that will surely rock the boat. Reviews from previous show: ***** ( **** (ThreeWeeks). 'Must See' (Stage).