One of the definite hits from last year’s Fringe was In Your Face’s fantastic Trainspotting, which is on again this year. We decided not to see it again as it’s important to keep having new experiences wherever possible, although if you haven’t seen it, I would definitely recommend it to you. However, this year we have Comfort Slaves, a brand new piece of immersive theatre directed by Craig Boyle, director of Trainspotting – and that’s why I’ve chosen to see it! Here’s the blurb: “Our culture and society is becoming, anaesthetised, dumbed down and depressed but we need to wake up. This new piece of cutting edge immersive theatre from Craig Boyle, the director of five-star Fringe 2014 hits Trainspotting and Lieutenant of Inishmore, immerses your senses in the immediate and intimate. Each performance is unique. He wants you to feel something raw and alive. If you want to know what bold and original Fringe theatre is, then this is for you. ***** (ThreeWeeks), ‘Highly recommended show’ (FringeReview.co.uk, Lieutenant of Inishmore 2014). ***** (BroadwayBaby.com, The Hardman 2013).”
Here’s a further description, from Immersive Acting Movement’s website: “Peter’s wife is pregnant and missing. His sister Sarah is about to go on TV’s talent show. Her boyfriend Gavin is paying back a debt. He’s working for Mr. Jerry Logan MP for Paisley. Mr Logan’s a powerful man who thinks he can get away with anything. Even kidnapping a pregnant woman who claimed he raped her when she was fourteen.” I’m expecting this to be really hard-hitting and all-engrossing – the video trailer is very suspenseful and eerie. I don’t think this is going to be a comfortable watch, but then, isn’t that what the Edinburgh Fringe is all about? It’s on at 15:15 at the New Town Theatre – Kitchen, and I think it’s going to be a promenade performance, much like Trainspotting was. Looking forward to the challenge! Check back around 4.30pm to see what we thought, and by then the next preview blog should be available.
Shut in a small kitchen, if you’re looking for an easy ride here, you won’t get it. All sorts of “discomforting the audience” techniques are employed by the deceptively approachable cast, who both mislead and confide in you during the performance. There’s no denying the unpleasantness of much of the material, and there’s also the shock of the sudden ending. The loathsome MP put his arm round me (cringe) but his nemesis shared his apple with me, which I appreciated more. I caused his woman some pain with her shoes, but then, it was her own fault. If none of this makes sense to you, you really need to come and see this memorable and challenging piece of immersive theatre.