2.5 ⭐ · Fringe Reviews 2015 · Reviews · Theatre Reviews

REVIEW: ‘Giving up the Ghost’ by Butterfly with a Bomb Productions

2 half star

This is a tough one. When it comes down to it, this play is only okay. That’s its main issue. There’s nothing glaringly wrong with in terms of script, staging, or cast; it’s just that, as a play, it’s only okay.

The story is a standard one and fairly predictable. Your basic ‘Girl Meets Ghoul’ plot, popular these days. It does put a little bit of its own spin on the whole thing, but I think not nearly enough. One thing that can be said for it is that certain characters are enjoyable to watch, the principle psychic character and her sister among them, but once again there’s not enough uniqueness in their characterisation to make this play stand out.

Certain elements of the plot bothered me. It felt that, towards the end, the play was searching for ways to wind itself up satisfactorily, and did not quite succeed in the task. The inconsistency over the exact status of the undead musician, a ghost one minute, a zombie the next, also detracted from the plot a little. It may have been an intentional ambiguity intended for effect.  If so, it didn’t quite come off this way. The representation of a teenager also felt very much like an older person’s image and understanding of a young person and youth culture. Dialogue, unless I’m mistaken, implies the play to be set in 2015, or possibly 2014 but frequent references are made to seventeen year-olds being obsessed with vampire films and attending screenings of said. As vampires no longer have the vogue they did three or four years ago, this felt a tad dated and thus jarred a little with me. It’s clearly intended to foreshadow and mirror the specific seventeen year-old’s romance with the undead character (sometimes said to be a zombie which, ironically, are currently in vogue) but unfortunately failed to seem anything other than tired and a little cliché.

Any interesting story, with potential, that unfortunately didn’t seem to go in the right directions. Ably performed by all in the cast however, and I must say it was nice to see something very Scottish for once during my Fringe adventure. I also enjoyed the show’s commitment to fake newspapers and books which only increased to entertain me the more they came up.

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