Shrapnel theatre’s new Fringe show
There is precious little in The D-List that reaches out to grab you and make you invest in the show or provoke a reaction.
Following our hapless protagonist Jamie, who shot to national fame by coming second place on Britain’s Worst Singer, we see him go from contented life as a hotel porter to washed out low rent celebrity all whilst ruining his relationship with his girlfriend and dim-witted friend at the hands of a ruthless agent. If all of this sounds familiar it’s because this is essentially the plot of every rags to riches story ever put to stage and screen and very little is done here to change the formula.
Within the first five minutes I could tell exactly how the plot was going to develop and by the halfway point the rest of the play felt like it was just going through the motions. Consequently there is little investment in a story where we can call every plot development many scenes before they happen and the moral boils down to “I had what made me happy all along!”.
This could have been forgiven perhaps if the jokes were good enough and while there are a few gags that got a chuckle out of me, the majority are predictable or simply crass and aim for the lowest common denominator. The performances are largely without fault though they are not given nearly enough to work with in the script to elevate it to anything remotely memorable.
Jamie’s character is particularly bland. With no real defining characteristics aside from his naivety and having no real depth to him, it makes it very difficult to feel invested in his relationship with either his girlfriend or dim-witted best mate.
The show’s problem is not really that it is particularly bad or even offensive. Rather it is more that is very average and has no real unique features or identity beyond things we’ve seen done hundreds of times before in better and more interesting ways.
There is precious little in The D-List that reaches out to grab you and make you invest in the show or provoke a reaction. In the end when there are so many other shows at the festival that will at least leave an impact or be something novel, a show that is so uniformly average is not something that I can recommend fringe goers should go out of their way to see.