There are lights in the sky. Strange storms rattle the windows of a church in which six strangers huddle for safety. The door knocks. Aliens?
The slightly too big, slightly too bizarre antics are not the peak of comic artistry but between trips to Edinburgh’s many drinking establishments, they can elicit raucous laughter.
This apocalyptic set-up is the groundwork for a delightfully bizarre character comedy from Naughty Corner Productions. There’s an unrepentant priest, a clueless nun, a military man uncomfortable with weapons, a madman with entirely too many guns, and a few others. Not every character is equally well-defined.
It’s the clash of personalities that drives the comedy. ‘Should we open the door?’ one suggests. ‘Leave the door closed?’ counters another. Or ‘give everyone guns?’ Solid performances backup usually snappy dialogue. The young actress playing the nun particularly stands out; her costume makes physicality useless but her facial expressions are broad and entertaining enough to sell the character regardless.
The production takes an irreverent approach to storytelling which, while hit-and-miss, is admirable in its aggression. Frequent scene changes, despite being linked to a killer techno soundtrack, halts momentum more than is advisable. That said, the modular set, which is dis- and re-assembled as the script needs, should be in the textbook for Fringe set design.
Elsewhere, the tech lets the proverbial wires show, opting for an entertaining unbelievability. Blood comes in the form of streamers flying over the back wall and a guitar appears when needed over that same wall. The script sometimes spends too long on its ultimately unimportant plot, but in the telling, there’s a fourth wall-breaking narration segment, a sing-along and a slow-mo fight scene. The soundtrack is, again, very good.
Church Blitz is in the sub-genre I call the ‘third drink comedy’, or fourth or fifth, depending. The slightly too big, slightly too bizarre antics are not the peak of comic artistry but between trips to Edinburgh’s many drinking establishments, they can elicit raucous laughter.