Departure Lounge

Four English lads are waiting in Malaga airport at the end of a week’s holiday, about to jet back for their A-level results. Their budget fight is continually delayed and as they wait their frailties, fears and secrets are gradually revealed to each other and the audience. Through an hour-plus of witty inventive song and energetic invigorating dance, friendships are fractured and mended while we wait for a delivery of individual serving milk cartons.

That is a bare bones summary. Any more exposition here would be unfair to the writer who has constructed a clever story which works largely through flashback and one of the boys’ storylines is signed up early from an acute observation of the current forms of abuse that adolescent British males of all ages use to communicate with their friends, so even enticing readers of this review with a gag or two from the show would be doing a disservice to both them and Dougal Irvine, who writes.

It’s very hard to write a rave review, which this is. The staging could not be simpler. Two acoustic guitarists sit in a corner throughout, providing the necessary accompaniment for the songs, and there are another four chairs which are moved around as needed by the performers. That’s it.

Mike Shearer, Stuart Matthew Price, Luke Kempner and Tim Edwards as the boys sing, dance and act their parts with clarity, energy and intelligent discrimination so that none of them becomes a cipher or cliché but discrete personalities, not merely an amorphous mass of lager louts on the pull, although that aspect is acknowledged. Hayley Angel Wardle, as the catalyst for the group’s potential disintegration, is perfect, both suitably blank as a screen on which each lad can project his ideals and prejudices, and also sharp and sassy, a girl who is out for her own fun steamrollering over everyone but not incapable of sympathy and kindness.

Director Pip Minnithorpe, musical director Peter White and choreographer Cressida Carre appear to be a team made in heaven as collectively they marshal their performers through the drama, comedy and varied musical idioms. Word has obviously got round as there was a large expectant audience which, judging from the applause and shrieks at the end, was more than well satisfied with the entertainment on offer. There are only a few nights left here in Edinburgh but if you miss the show you should not worry to much as it would be a great surprise if this marvellous show does not manage to gain further life elsewhere.

When it does, see it.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
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The Blurb

Musical Theatre @ George Square. 4th - 25th August. 21:00 (1h15)

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