Aug 18 2022 | By More

★★☆☆☆      Anticlimactic

theSpace @ Surgeons’ Hall (Venue 53): Fri 5 – Sat 27 Aug 2022
Review by Hugh Simpson

Apartness, from K4K Films and Shortcut Productions at theSpace @ Surgeons’ Hall, promises much but signally fails to deliver.

Even allowing for the usual Fringe hyperbole, billing your show as ‘a new hybrid’ is a hostage to fortune. And saying something is ‘part live stand-up, part film’ might lead audiences to expect a roughly equal split.

Sylvester McCoy in Apartness. Pic K4K Films

Instead, this is a lockdown-set film starring Sylvester McCoy, Linda Marlowe and Eleanor May Blackburn, with the live element being two short live performances from Blackburn.

In truth, you wouldn’t wish for the live parts to last longer, consisting as they do of a white-faced performer doing desultory tricks with a hat, performing ‘humour’ about Covid, and singing When The Saints Go Marching In while pretending to fart. Which probably sounds better written down than it is in reality.

It isn’t Blackburn’s fault, as she does the best with what she is given, and impresses in the film. It is impossible to imagine either the luminous Marlowe or the perennially fascinating McCoy giving a less than committed performance. Accordingly the film has something to recommend it.

However, while it might work better on television, it all is distinctly underwhelming on a bigger screen. Some of it distinctly oddly shot and edited, the narrative is unconvincing and the denouement frankly bizarre.

Writer-director Kevin Short is obviously not short of ideas, and the inclusion of an original, but utterly convincing 1940s-style song as an important part of the narrative shows a definite talent. However, this production, with its meddled execution and frankly baffling attitude, never convinces. Only the efforts of the actors justify a second star.

Running time: 55 minutes (no interval)
theSpace @ Surgeons’ Hall (Fleming Theatre), Nicolson St, EH8 9DW (Venue 53)
Friday 5 – Saturday 27 August 2022
Daily at 10:45.
Information and tickets Book here.

Instagram: @k4kfilms
Facebook: @k4kfilms
Twitter: @K4KFilms 


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Comments (1)

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  1. Kevin Short says:

    Dear Hugh,

    I’m not often spurred to comment on reviews of my own show but your one star for the whole and one other star for the actors got this old ass braying. No sour grapes, because the audiences have been building, some returning for a second time to glean a little more.

    The consensus of opinion is, thankfully, far removed from your critique. Yes, the piece was meant to be oblique and slightly baffling, with no finite resolution, but the message for today is there if you dig deep enough. You were in with an early small attendance, perhaps, and nothing but dinner on a plate would satisfy, or maybe your subjectivity was stubbornly set to negativity that day. No matter.

    Whatever the reason, as a fellow critic, I am genuinely surprised you did not burrow beyond your bemusement, prods and pokes, and try, at least, to inform the public what it is actually about. If you totally missed the point and message of the piece then, I fear, you really didn’t think or dig hard enough, which is a shame for us all. Still, I have always preferred 1 or 2 stars to 3 because it always suggests that the one person’s opinion might be crazily and positively wrong.

    As I began, no sour grapes, but I want your readers to know that the audiences attending are getting it, and one man’s hate is another man’s love. Oh, and I must say, after 50years of writing for the theatre, it was good to read that I’ve written a song that shows a definite talent – ha! I thank you!

    With respect,

    Kevin Short