Water Fruit Loops

August 24, 2022 | By More

★★★☆☆     Engaging

theSpace @ Niddry St (Venue 9): Mon 22 – Sat 27 Aug 2022
Review by Hugh Simpson

Theatre Paradok’s Water Fruit Loops, at theSpace @ Niddry Street for the final week of the fringe, goes over well-trodden ground in a likeable manner.

In Rorke Wilson’s play, Ronnie finds herself constantly repeating the same day, which always seems to end with her breaking up with her boyfriend and sleeping with her ex.

Water Fruit Loops

It is ironic that a storyline based on such a large number of already established tropes (something which the script does try to address) should be so strangely structured.

Rather than going for the time honoured fashion of showing the time loop in action, on this occasion we are simply informed by Ronnie that it has existed for some time. This is less than satisfactory; the repeated events come much later on, not always handled with maximum of deftness.

Simply referring to well-known films with a time loop element does not make the play clever. Neither does it excuse its deficiencies; rather, it points them out.

Added to this is a meta-theatrical level, with Ronnie being aware of the audience. This is a shrewd, if not particularly novel, device of which more could probably have been made. Indeed it is noticeable for a play so aware of its on theatricality, that some of the performances are extremely low-key – to the point of being inaudible at times.

This does mean that many potentially funny lines fail to land in the way that they might. Wilson does have some decidedly neat touches, however, with the portrayal of interpersonal relationships being notably strong.

pleasing naturalism

Marina Funcasta’s Ronnie has an unfussy way of reacting to their predicament which makes for a strong connection with the audience. Edie Gillett and Calum Osment, as her housemates Penny and David, display a pleasing naturalism which does stray into the realms of underplaying on occasion.

Ronnie’s insipid boyfriend Andrew (Alex Preston) has only been given one scene but he plays it with considerable sympathy. Ronnie’s on-and-off-again-ex Stevie (Priya Basra) has more depth as a character, and Basra responds suitably in a performance of some magnetism. The scenes featuring Ronnie and Stevie are the most convincing in the play, with real emotional depth, and suggest Wilson’s strengths lie in more conventional dialogue rather than tricksy plotting.

Wilson also directs, creating an intimate atmosphere, but better use could be made of the acting space. In particular, there is too much unnecessary moving of the minimal furniture, but the technical side of the production is well handled by Caitlin Welsh.

While this is nowhere near as clever or original as it would like to be, it is still fairly smart, and engagingly performed.

Running time 1 hour (no interval)
theSpace @ Niddry St (Lower Theatre), Niddry St, EH1 1TH (Venue 9).
Monday 22 – Saturday 27 August 2022
Daily at 11:00
Information and tickets: Book here.

Company website: https://theatreparadok.co.uk/
Instagram: @theatreparadok
Facebook: @theatreparadok
Twitter: @theatreparadok

ENDS

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