Boondocks

Set in a bush, this play gets quickly into its own stride, with a persistent odd humour which flips on its head anything you thought you knew about a conversation between three young men in a bush. Mike, Todd and Bobby, unsure about how they all came to be where they are, decide to, in their own words, “chew the fat” and see what comes of it. Quite a lot. Placing intense value on things that we, if sitting in a bush, likely would pay little attention to, like who sits and stand in which order, all three characters come across as delusional to the extreme, but in a meaningful, off-kilter way.

The final resolution may be barmier than anything that has come earlier in the play, but this should only have been expected.

This is quality new writing by Hughie Shepherd-Cross. He gets you laughing at dialogue that seems absurd, before you stop to realise the potential insight into the mechanisms of language that lies just behind it. A play in the vein of Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead, but more laugh-out-loud funny, and probably more relevant to the perplexed waiting points for baffled youth today. Freddie Robarts, playing Mike, is the stand-out actor, just slightly more buffoon-ish than the others, and he delivers an excellent monologue about the fate of Italian pear trees in WWII.

Although there is no explicit reference within the play to why the title was chosen, a bit of background digging highlights that the term ‘boondocks’ came into use in American English during the Philippine-American war of 1899-1902, to mean “disorientation within a border region” from the Filipino term for mountain areas, due to their struggles fighting guerrilla warfare there. Perhaps these three bewildered teenagers have found their own ‘boondocks’. However, this is a disorientation resulting from relatives by marriage being murdered by result of an insanely fast butterfly-effect, and from the fact that the only people they can reach by phone to help them out of their predicament are extremely patient wrong numbers. Not to mention the all-powerful notebook that dictates end results and decides when they can leave the bush.

The final resolution may be barmier than anything that has come earlier in the play, but this should only have been expected. And the final line, which somehow seems to draw the absurdity of the entire Edinburgh Fringe into the fray, is outstanding. 

Reviews by Jonathan Mayo

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The Blurb

Three teenagers chew the fat in a bush. Except the fat is nasty. And there's something up with the bush too. The play Samuel Beckett would have written if he was funnier. 'If you want to spot the future stars at the Edinburgh Fringe train your eyes on Double Edge Drama' (Evening Standard).

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