In a sitcom-esque black comedy, three bohemian students lazily speculate about the end of the world, until they begin to suspect that one of them might have taken drastic action against an unscrupulous corporation. Gemma McGinley and Lois Robertson’s light tale of disconnected thinking and frustrated activism is full of great gags and charming characterisation.
A black comedy with the emphasis definitely on the comedy, and succeeds much more as entertainment than it does as social critique.
This is not the most fast-paced play in Edinburgh, and it does drag a little in the opening sections, but this is more than made up for by the characters, all of which are both loveable and ridiculous. Some naturalistic acting and a good grasp of the shifting dynamics of the friendship group kept the audience focused on their bickering and directionless chatter. Rick (Chris McLeish) and Billy’s (Sandy Bain) sweet physicality made them a believable couple, whilst Gillian Massey as the melodramatic August made the character charming even when she was at her most comically unreasonable.
The writing hints that Rick, August and Billy are part of an out-of-touch generation who pay lip-service to left-wing politics and don’t mean half of the things they say, but the political undertones remain beneath the surface. In fact, the most enjoyable aspects of the play are the elements that come closer to farce, particularly McLeish’s cheerful “what about a holocaust?” when discussing potential end-of-the-world scenarios, and later, his camp hysterics when faced with his boyfriend’s suspicious behaviour.
An exposé of modern hipster culture this is not: all of the characters are far too affable, and are only lightly mocked for their hilariously awful attempts to play instruments and off-the-wall conversation topics. The plot is pretty slight and the politics are not as engaging as many other Fringe shows, but the characters are sweetly realised and the humour sharp without being socially incisive. It is a black comedy with the emphasis definitely on the comedy, and succeeds much more as entertainment than it does as social critique.