Limbo: The Twelve

Limbo: The Twelve is one of the latest pair of musicals from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, allowing a group of talented young performes the opportunity to perform an original musical, creating their own characters rather than reinterpreting existing ones. In Limbo: The Twelve, the more mature of this year's pair, the young musical theatre talents adopt the roles of drug addicts, stoic law enforcement and grieving family members.

Limbo: The Twelve is a case of a talented group of performers occasionally biting off more than they can chew.

Tess, the musical's protagonist, is on the border between life and death. Various people involved in her death in various capacities gather in a purgatorial waiting room to decide whether or not they are going to intervene in her death and save her life. Through musical interludes and monologue confessions we discover the lives of the twelve people who make up this jury and their relationship with Tess as they deliberate over whether or not to intervene. As a concept, it's an interesting one, though with what seems to be a moral plothole in that there doesn't seem to be any punishment for intervening in saving someone's life, therefore when almost all the jury members initially refuse to intervene they are basically killing her themselves. As this forms the backbone of the show's emotional arc, it comes off as unrealistically callous and colours audience investment throughout.

The individual emotions contained within the show though are beautifully portrayed and as isolated vignettes some have real power. Imani Russell and Max Weinberg are highlights in smaller roles playing parts friends unwillingly involved in Tess' addiction. Similarly, Olivia Worley shines brightly when given the spotlight. The show's undoubted lead is Sarah Olive-McStay as Tess and she deserves the role wholeheartedly, lending raw emotion and intensity to a hugely difficult role.

Additionally, the music and lyrics by Jonathan Bauer and Casey Kendall is strong, with a duet set in a rehabilitation clinic both wonderfully written and performed. However the show's themes often seem too heavy a weight to hang over this young cast. From the 90s costuming to the neat narrative structure, it betrays the complex and difficult nature of addiction and recovery. Seeing people get convinced of the worthiness of someone's life through a three-minute solo strains credulity too often, no matter how talented the person performing it is.

Limbo: The Twelve is a case of a talented group of performers occasionally biting off more than they can chew. Struggling against weighty material, when they succeed they tug effectively at the heartstrings and the show often an effective emotional experience powered by talented performers.

Reviews by Charlie Ralph

The Stand Comedy Club

Josie Long: Tender

★★★★
Pleasance Dome

MARA

★★★★
Summerhall

Working On My Night Moves

★★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

The Rebirth of Meadow Rain

★★★★
Underbelly, Cowgate

Tokyo Rose

★★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

Lucy McCormick: Post Popular

★★

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.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

After a lifetime of battling addiction, Tess Butler is dead. Well, almost. Now, her fate lies with a jury of 12 people from her past. During her life Tess lied and broke her promises, but she was also courageous, compassionate and kind. The Twelve fight, plead and argue with each other until only one question remains: how many chances do we get? Co-commissioned by the American Music Theatre Project and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, critically acclaimed writing team Casey Kendall and Jonathan Bauerfeld return to the Fringe with this moving ensemble driven musical.

Most Popular See More

The Lion King

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Everybody's Talking About Jamie

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Only Fools and Horses - The Musical

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Witness for the Prosecution

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mary Poppins

From £31.00

More Info

Find Tickets