There are not many shows that greet the audience with instructions on where to find the frozen food section, or an officious security guard checking bags for explosives. Deprescos is clearly a silly bit of fun from the start; most of the characters are one trolley short of a supermarket. It would be a bit much to say there was a serious message behind the play, written by director Emer Mary Morris, although the drudgery of minimum-wage employment is, perhaps, an underlying issue, not to mention the spurious work-schemes that give long-term unemployed ‘opportunities’ to improve themselves.

This may not be for everyone, but it is a bit of simple, good fun.

The scenes alternate between the supermarket and the home of Lucy and her boyfriend, Pen, who are both unemployed. Pen has a broken leg, which he intends to use as an excuse to keep out of work for as long as possible, but Lucy has been forced through a “Work Fare Scheme” to take unpaid work at Tesco. However, as they point out during their elaborate, albeit farcical plan to hold their small-town Tesco to ransom, even revolutionaries need holidays. Although the play fizzles out unsuccessfully toward the end, it is not without its merits for an amateur production.

For each scene change there is a curious sequence of moving wire baskets and other supermarket props around with mechanical percussive music and quirky movements. Perhaps this is meant to indicate the ridiculous mechanics and micro-politics of shop workers, but either way it was an entertaining way of moving stuff around the set. Most of the actors were self-consciously playing up and, in a self-deprecating line, even the script admitted its limitations as Beverley, who works in the customer service department asks, “Is this part of the customer services, or are we doing acting?”

When Lucy asks to borrow fake guns from Jason, the security guard who harbours acting aspirations, he is surprised when she says she is in an amateur dramatic production of Macbeth and claims, in a rather ham fashion, ‘I love am-dram.’ On that basis, for those who come to the Fringe to see work that is not particularly challenging, Deprescos is not as depressing as the title suggests. In the re-write of Club Tropicana with which the play concludes, the words are changed to “Zero hours, there’s enough for everyone.” This may not be for everyone, but it is a bit of simple, good fun.

Reviews by J. A. Sutherland

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The Blurb

Pen and Lucy are on the dole. Lucy is forced to work for Tesco. She would really like a holiday. Pen would really like revenge on capitalism. Trevor really wants to win the Best Tesco Store Award. Bev would love never to set eyes on a customer again. Jason really wants to be James Bond. What happens next is a hashed hostage hold-up, with chaos, crutches, Clubcards and a reluctant YouTube song. Will they achieve their dreams? Well, every little helps… Writer/Director: Emer Mary Morris, Co-Director: Joss Nicholas, Design: Nina Scott.