In Fidelity

August 14, 2016 | By | 1 Reply More

✭✭✭✭✩  In Triguing

Traverse Theatre (Venue 15): Thurs 4 – Sun 28 Aug 2016
Review by Hugh Simpson

Combining a dating show, with an exploration on the scientific basis of love, In Fidelity at the Traverse is great fun and deceptively clever.

Rob Drummond’s hugely enjoyable theatrical experiment also subtly undermines expectations and received wisdom about relationships between people, and their relationship with fidelity – both to each other and to the truth itself.

Rob Drummond (centre) with his willing participants in In Fidelity. Photo Eoin Carey

Rob Drummond (centre) with his willing participants in In Fidelity. Photo Eoin Carey

Beginning with what appears to be a cheesy TV show (enhanced considerably by Ana Ines Jabatres Pita’s design), two volunteers from the audience are selected to go on a ‘date’ during the show. The nature of Fringe audiences is probably a help in this regard, with there apparently being no shortage of people wanting to take part. They are mostly young, all straight (‘what a hetero-normative show we have’ as Drummond quips) and happy to appear on stage. Audiences in other times and places may not be so accommodating.

There seems little chance that the selected couple are planted, as might be suspected. Indeed – as can happens with unrehearsed shows – when asked to read off a card and respond to it at one important moment, not everything is read out and it is far from clear what they are responding to.

The chosen couple have an important role, but it is not too taxing. Indeed, other members of the audience end up revealing far more about their life, loves and views on fidelity. This is prompted by Drummond’s skilful rapport with them, and his carefully structured ruminations on his own relationship – the show being apparently a present to his wife on the 15th anniversary of their first date. However, he admits that some of what he is saying is not the absolute truth, and there is sometimes the suspicion that a lot more of it may be exaggeration at the very least.

genial rumination on life

While there is certainly scope for things to go wrong, Drummond and director Steven Atkinson have events well under control. Drummond’s training as a magician for Bullet Catch means we cannot help thinking that this is all a Derren Brown-style manipulation rather than the genial rumination on life with projections of the Dave Gorman school it superficially resembles.

Brilliantly, this cynical attitude is subverted by an ending that flips the whole thing into full-blown sentimentality and suggests that it might all be taken at face value after all – or may just be too good to be true. Either way, Drummond’s likeable stage presence, the thought that has gone into it, and – perhaps most importantly – the audience’s willingness to go along with it all, make for thought-provoking fun.

Running time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Traverse Theatre (Venue 15), 10 Cambridge Street, EH1 2ED
Thursday 4 – Sunday 28 August 2016 (not
Daily, not Mondays: Times vary; check website for details
Book tickets on the EdFringe website: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/in-fidelity
Traverse website: http://www.traverse.co.uk/whats-on/
Company website: https://www.hightide.org.uk
Twitter: @_HighTide_

In Fidelity will tour to the HighTide Festival of new plays, Aldeburgh, Suffolk.
Running Thursday 8 – Sunday 18 September 2016.
Booking and details: https://www.hightide.org.uk/productions/in-fidelity

ENDS

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