Theatre review: block
Theatre review: block

Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: block, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Sally Stott. ★★★ “You really don’t want to piss off my Dad,” is the message constantly repeated by Kieran and his siblings at the start of this thrillingly fresh, imaginatively structured and defiantly experimental piece. Shifting between menacing drama, slapstick comedy and musical theatre, it …

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Edinburgh Festival

Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: block, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Sally Stott.

★★★

“You really don’t want to piss off my Dad,” is the message constantly repeated by Kieran and his siblings at the start of this thrillingly fresh, imaginatively structured and defiantly experimental piece.

Shifting between menacing drama, slapstick comedy and musical theatre, it follows a close-knit, inner-city family in the West Country, as they carry out scams and turn violently upon anyone who doesn’t pay their dues. However, the unlikely focus ends up being dad Ray’s attempts to overrule the corrupt local council and build a children’s playground for the community – all very admirable (if you ignore the torturing that goes on either side of this) but not exactly high-stakes stuff.

And yet Duncan Ellis’s sparky, visceral, sharp and funny script moves from poetry to comedy with such a lightness of touch you never know what to expect next. An ending amusingly plays with form, but in the absence of a sufficiently tight narrative it quickly becomes indulgent.

The majority of the cast are superb as their vibrant characters, and the marginalisation of the white working class briefly emerges as a compelling theme, but it’s a tonally uneven piece in need of reining in, despite some terrific moments of highly original writing.

theSpace on the Mile (Venue 39) until 15 August / listings

Published in The Scotsman on 10 August 2015

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