Review: QMTC @ Edinburgh Fringe

QM’s Deprescos

Queen Mary Theatre Company’s Production of Deprescos highlights the world most of us are familiar with: the world of low wages, a desperate job market, people who want to lay the blame at someone else’s door – and Tesco. The “frolic through the microcosm world of the supermarket” shows the reality of a considerable portion of the British population. The scenes where the cast sort the boxes in a zombie-like state brilliantly depict people who find themselves stuck in difficult jobs or situations.

The strength of Emer Mary Morris’ script lies in the representation of grey areas. The manager, Trevor, is trying to win the award for the best store; he is a man trying to make his way up in the world. Beverly, a terrible customer service assistant, is a clichéd character but an accurate one nonetheless. She is the figure you have no doubt met in most supermarkets or retail chains, reminiscent of the characters of Dinner Ladies. Jason, the security guard, is interested in stunts and action and sees himself as a film star. Lucy and her boyfriend Pen wanted revenge on capitalism, while at the same time helping themselves by stealing a holiday from the Tesco head-office manager they hold hostage.

It’s a story of desperate, lonely people, imagining themselves to be revolutionaries or Robin Hood – and ultimately trying to be braver than they actually are. The performance made an excellent use of sound and lightening and the set was really well done.

This play had me laughing out loud, and the use of modern props, such as Tesco Clubcards and social media, only served to make the play even more poignant.

See this performance at Edinburgh Festival Fringe at theSpace @ Venue45.

Click here for show times and details.


Darkly Comic and Sexy: QM and Splutter Theatre’s Old Gristle

Queen Mary Theatre Company joined forces with Splutter Theatre for this production of Old Gristle. Unashamedly sleazy with sexual overtones (and a bare-bottom spanking), darkly comic, and at times graphically revolting, this is an interesting story of filthy inhabitants of a town called Old Gristle.

The frequency of people carrying their dead loved ones – including a dead dog – in black bin bags is quite disturbing. The revolting nature of it all seems deliberate, enhanced particularly by Pam and Sam, siblings, who eat their parents’ ashes and cover themselves in it.

It’s a story of a town that is steeped in decay and dying and the inhabitants are trying to save themselves. They think they know how, so they set about it, with no care for the consequences. The morality of their actions, while present, seems to exist only in the background as an afterthought, as if it’s something that the people of Old Gristle were aware of only vaguely.

The cast acted as one in a seamless whole. Their chemistry made things creepier, which I believe was the intended effect. It’s a bit of an odd story, which is set to entertain and disturb all at once. Expect to laugh and to be shocked in equal measure.

See this performance at Edinburgh Festival Fringe at the Space @ Venue45.

Click here for show times and details.


QM’s Coping

Queen Mary Theatre Company’s production of Coping: A Bittersweet One-Act Musical is a heart-warming and realistic performance of handling breakups, heartbreaks, loss – and a tale of haunting could-haves and should-haves. It depicts imperfect people in imperfect relationships, trying to find their slice of happiness and coping with unexpected losses.

The cast came together as a unit and the chemistry between them enhanced the overall strength of their performance, which was already strong as individuals. The laugh-out loud moments were often the ones that struck a chord – and often the moments which produced introspection, giving us chance to recognise stark truths from our lives, such as Olivia deluding herself of the things she can do to win her ex-lover back and Ana regretting all the things she did not do and the affection she did not show.

Better use of lighting, to create more shadows and spotlights would have enhanced the drama. However, the intimate setting of the Pinter Studio on Queen Mary’s campus worked well.

It’s a beautiful, independent musical that will take you through a touching and poignant journey in just forty five minutes.

See this performance at Edinburgh Festival Fringe at theSpace @ Venue45.

Click here for show times and details.

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