Tag Archives: Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Murder on the Dancefloor

★★★

Pleasance Theatre

Murder on the Dancefloor

Murder on the Dancefloor

Pleasance Theatre

Reviewed – 12th October 2019

★★★

“this is a night of great music, played loud, and more clever physical dexterity than you can shake a stick at”

 

You could argue that not enough is made of the slough of oddness into which university leavers find themselves plunged on graduation. Returning, in many cases, to parental homes and familiar faces who have both not changed and changed very, very much is bound to be unsettling. First world problem it may be (and that does make it a little hard to feel too sorry for Murder on the Dancefloor’s main characters), but certainly one that invokes some flux, and it’s this that this production makes a focus – with a sinister outcome.

We meet the graduates back in their home city, convening around pub quiz machines to swap notes on jobhunting. Ollie Norton-Smith’s script rattles along at such a quickfire pace that it’s sometimes hard to keep up, and occasionally, as the plot unfolds, important twists and turns can be easily missed. The thrust is clear, though; Sabrina, played with great vigour by Phoebe Campbell, is all at sea, back at home in dead-end jobs and living with her hated brother and lecturing dad (Tullio Campanale, who is a quiet hero of the piece here, turning his hand to his two roles with alacrity). Just how lost these post-uni souls are is clear; on noting that it’s sad not to know what happens next, Sabrina tells her friend that it’s a job, a home, a future. ‘But that’s on us’, Bonnie (Francesa Thompson) reflects mournfully.

The choreography of this piece is extraordinary, especially in the tight space of the Pleasance and with audiences wrapped around on three sides – although more could be done to keep sightlines clear for folks sat at left and right. The cast’s running, dancing, flowing around the stage is positively mercurial; props to Zak Nemorin’s dance choreography. The physicality is commendable, and surely absolutely exhausting, but it risks becoming repetitive and the snappy run time here feels right, if nudging towards overlong for what turns out to be a slightly flimsy plot.

Murder on the Dancefloor is billed as a black comedy, and there is the odd laugh, but that doesn’t feel like it quite cuts it as a description. The script isn’t quite funny enough to call this a true comic piece, and lacks the emotional depth to make for truly powerful physical theatre. It’s a shame this falls between two stalls, as there’s much to recommend the night. All the acting and movement on display is impressive, with some clever moments of direction from Ollie Norton-Smith; a scene where Sabrina reminisces over an old photo album is especially neat. And the soundtrack is such a presence as to feel like it’s another character on stage; a Spotify playlist must surely follow.

This is a cast brimming with talent, executing some really notable choreography. Ultimately, their performances are undermined by a flawed narrative, with the closing plot twist so damn silly as to make a bit of a mockery of any moments of emotional heft that preceded it. That said: this is a night of great music, played loud, and more clever physical dexterity than you can shake a stick at. And there’s a lot to be said for that.

 

Reviewed by Abi Davies

 


Murder on the Dancefloor

Pleasance Theatre until 13th October

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:
Neck Or Nothing | ★★★★ | April 2019
Night Of The Living Dead Live | ★★★ | April 2019
Don’t Look Away | ★★★½ | May 2019
Regen | ★★★ | May 2019
The Millennials | ★★½ | May 2019
Kill Climate Deniers | ★★★★ | June 2019
It’ll Be Alt-Right On The Night | ★★★★ | September 2019
Midlife Cowboy | ★★★ | September 2019
The Accident Did Not Take Place | ★★ | October 2019
The Fetch Wilson | ★★★★ | October 2019

 

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It’ll Be Alt-Right On The Night

★★★★

Pleasance Theatre

Itll Be Alt Right On The Night

It’ll Be Alt-Right On The Night

Pleasance Theatre

Reviewed – 30th September 2019

★★★★

 

“As much as it humorously reflects on the past, this is very much a story for the now”

 

It’s about that time when the crème de la crème from this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe get invited to bring their show down for a London showcase. The Pleasance London venue is one such place. With a whole season of Ed Fringe triumphs coming up, Wound Up Theatre is one of the lucky few to perform again their effervescent show, It’ll Be Alt-Right On The Night. Like a pocket rocket, Matthew Greenhough moves through this (almost) one man show with velocity. With Northern charm and thought-provoking debate, this timely show is as urgent in its delivery as it is an essential illustration of today.

Greeny and Stevo have been faithful friends who’ve known each other for years. From their Sheffield school days in the late 90’s, to being angst-filled Punks living in squats and drinking nothing but Buckfast in the early 00’s. These lads have been side by side through many ups and downs. But the world has changed since those days. Hell, they’ve changed also. One’s moved to London and is a Liberal Lefty, with a cushy ‘media’ job, drinking £6 pints, whilst the other is stuck in their hometown and is downright angry at the world. As they meet up for the first time in a very long time, can they still find common ground, or will their political and social differences drive an ever-growing wedge further between them?

Greenhough is truly electric, completely wired for the 60 minute performance, hopping about the stage between the personas of Greeny and Stevo. In what appears to be a partly auto-biographical tale (Greenhough/Greeny? Too much of a coincidence?) the anecdotal nature of this non-chronological piece feels naturally told, as if coming from the top of Greenhough’s head in fragments. Although nothing really new or ground breaking is mentioned on the matter of the UK’s current fractious political divide, the beliefs of the far right and left are clearly depicted, but even these can sometimes border on the stereotypical. That being said, Stevo’s idea of ‘Conservatism is the new Punk Rock’, is certainly food for thought.

The eye-catching use of vinyl records on the floor and Steven Wright in the corner playing brilliant Jazz-Punk mash-ups on the trumpet between scene transitions, helps to reaffirm that music is the powerful bond between these two friends. However, even music struggles to finds its way as a unifier, as their ideological disparities prove to run deep.

As rough and ready as the performance feels, just like the astringent, unpolished Punk that the guys listen to, it all adds to this play’s appeal. It’s an intense experience to sit through, moving at a supersonic pace, but it hits the nail on the head on modern day life. As much as it humorously reflects on the past, this is very much a story for the now, with a serious message beneath.

 

Reviewed by Phoebe Cole

 


It’ll Be Alt-Right On The Night

Pleasance Theatre until 2nd October

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:
One Duck Down | ★★★★★ | October 2018
The Archive of Educated Hearts | ★★★★ | October 2018
Call Me Vicky | ★★★ | February 2019
Neck Or Nothing | ★★★★ | April 2019
Night Of The Living Dead Live | ★★★ | April 2019
Don’t Look Away | ★★★½ | May 2019
Regen | ★★★ | May 2019
The Millennials | ★★½ | May 2019
Kill Climate Deniers | ★★★★ | June 2019
Midlife Cowboy | ★★★ | September 2019

 

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