Comfort Slaves

Suitability: 16+ (Restriction). That’s the line in the Fringe programme which as an adult you probably don’t pay much attention to, unless you’re taking your children out for the day. In the case of Comfort Slaves it also doesn’t give you much of an idea about what to expect: maybe some swearing, a touch of gratuitous violence and perhaps the inevitable scene of a sexual nature. By the standards of this production that would be show for all the family.

The cast is a highly skilled team of energetic actors; bold, brazen and in your face.

Now let’s try a list for whom this show would be unsuitable on the ground that it might offend or cause distress: anyone who is of a nervous disposition, squeamish, afraid of the dark or acts of violence; any member of the establishment; any member of the establishment who has behaved inappropriately or in an illegal manner with a minor; any celebrity or member of a broadcasting organisation who has behaved inappropriately or in an illegal manner with a minor; rapists; other paedophiles; kidnappers; members of satanic cults or secret societies prone to debauchery, ritual sacrifice (human or otherwise) and the burning of effigies and impoverished parents who go out skipping (excluding the sort involving a rope). I assume that by now you get the picture, although I could go on. Oh yes, and anyone who cannot stand up for an hour.

I include that because it is genuinely the case and it leads me nicely into a story I just have to tell. One aspect of immersive theatre is not being sure which person in the audience will suddenly turn out to be a member of the cast. Some way into the performance I still had my eye on a tall man of solid build who had the presence of someone about to assume a role. Within minutes he crashed to the floor. An actor stared at the lifeless heap and enquired, “What’s he doing down there? Better get him out of here.” Whereupon he and a member of the audience removed him. We waited in vain to see how this event fitted into the storyline. It turned out that he really was a member of the audience who had just fainted. The event didn’t seem out of place and it served to fulfill the company’s assurance that no two performances will be the same.

This production is a new piece from Craig Boyle, the director of last year’s highly acclaimed Trainspotting and Lieutenant of Inishmore. The cast is a highly skilled team of energetic actors; bold, brazen and in your face. Should you not fall into any of the categories listed above and are rather partial to a bit of immersion then you should take on this unabashed, uncompromising and audacious production. In addition to following the action you might also want to try to keep a tally of the number of times swear words beginning with ‘f’ and ‘c’ are used. Fingers and toes will soon cease to be of use. Also, bear in mind that once you are in the room there is no escape; unless, of course, you faint.

Reviews by Richard Beck

Tristan Bates Theatre

Wine

★★★
Above the Stag Theatre

Kids Play

★★★★★
Tristan Bates Theatre

Revelation 1:18

★★★★
Tristan Bates Theatre

No Help Sent

★★★★
PRINT ROOM at THE CORONET

The Outsider (L’Étranger)

★★★★
Upstairs at the Gatehouse

Prairie Flower

★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Our culture and society is becoming, anaesthetised, dumbed down and depressed but we need to wake up. This new piece of cutting edge immersive theatre from Craig Boyle, the director of five-star Fringe 2014 hits Trainspotting and Lieutenant of Inishmore, immerses your senses in the immediate and intimate. Each performance is unique. He wants you to feel something raw and alive. If you want to know what bold and original Fringe theatre is, then this is for you. ***** (ThreeWeeks), 'Highly recommended show' (FringeReview.co.uk, Lieutenant of Inishmore 2014). ***** (BroadwayBaby.com, The Hardman 2013).