Playwright Anthony Maskell’s Fringe debut is as student as they come. I say that lightly, but for the first five minutes, the impression you get is of a hastily arranged, lazy first-year drama class’s take on life experience, through rose-tinted glasses and clichéd tropes regarding the human condition. But once in full motion, Foxtrot perfectly skewers the mass-media generated culture surrounding missing children as it becomes dramatised by its own pathos.

Foxtrot and the capable young actors who present it could well flourish into something truly remarkable.

It is an attack on the sensationalised image of missing white women as much as it is an examination of the broader impact it has on the lives of those affected, distilled to only flickers of emotion fired in rapid succession in this multi-act play. Props and costumes are minimal, but do not dilute the professionalism stemming from all seven actors. Sound and lightning could not be cleaner in the delivery, and for so little available to the cast, it comes off as no less impressive.

Adhering to its name, the fast-paced nature of the play sees Foxtrot strive to punch above its own weight, though often with ineffective results. In the space of only 50 minutes, Foxtrot attempts to tackle big, open-ended concepts on a limited scale: body image, bad parenting, victim blaming, capitalism and the invasion of privacy. All of these, and more, are hurriedly examined in a manner akin to sophomore essay check-listing, squeezing enormously profound notions into barely two minutes of dialogue each. This rushed approach to, and presentation of, philosophy is undeniably Foxtrot’s greatest organic weakness, that could perhaps be rectified by singling out the divisive ideas and focusing less on trying to amend mankind’s essential flaws, which won’t be solved any time soon. Indeed, where it shows the most promise is in the flashcard acts that present only snippets of information, as the audience are left to draw their own conclusions surrounding the disappearance of the elusive young woman. And given more of a polishing and a better environment, Foxtrot and the capable young actors who present it could well flourish into something truly remarkable.

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The Blurb

Foxtrot is a new play by Oxford University student Anthony Maskell. Told in a series of episodic fragmented scenes which can be performed in any order, the audience must piece together the puzzle of an unnamed girl's sexual awakening and disappearance. Six Oxford University students take on a multi-role approach to portray the many different sides of the young girl's difficult upbringing and the shadows that populate her life in a show that is as fractured and warped as her own sense of self.

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