The Departure Lounge – Viva Group at Edinburgh Fringe 2017

This play was not at all like I had expected it to be – in a very good way. It was at the same venue, which made my crazy. long day at lot easier as The Bakewell Bake Off: A New Musical which was performed by the same theatre company Viva Group 

The synopsis on the Edinburgh Fringe programme said it was a tale of 4 lads in Malaga Airport,  JB, Ross, Jordan and Pete, each hiding a secret. Usually, I don’t tend to choose to watch plays dominated with male characters, (probably the feminist in me, lol), as I do tend to be naturally attracted to a strong female lead or a least a mixed gender cast, but my instincts told me to book it, so I did.

THE STORY

OK, so I ‘ve already given you the outline of the story and I don’t want to give out any spoilers, but the story goes way beyond its stereotypical surface of a lads holiday.

The lads are you typical british ‘Lads’ on the surface, shouting quite sexist remarks, such as “We’re gonna shag your daughter, that’s what she’s for!” and “We’re here for Booze, Birds and Bonking“, quite offensive on the surface, but as you get to know the characters, you realise that it’s all just ‘banter’ and ‘bravado’, hiding much deeper insecurities.

We learn that the boys’ plane is delayed and they are discussing the events of their holiday, questions arise over the events of a particular night, there are a few different versions of what had happened.

The subject of their looming exam results is brought to light, and the term ‘departure lounge’ suddenly has another meaning, as Ross points out, that they are in the ‘Departure Lounge’ of their own lives, waiting on results to let them know which options will be open to them, which paths they will be able to take forward.

Ross states, “We’re not really in Spain or England, not really in School or Uni – just waiting in ‘No man’s land’ a departure lounge

To be honest, the script in this show is excellent.

SET

As you can see from the photo above, the set was extremely minimal, just 5 chairs on an empty stage, with a musician upstage left playing a guitar, who is excellent throughout, by the way.

The lighting was great, especially in the nightclub flashback scenes, it really help set the mood in each scene.

Costumes were typical lads clothing in 2017, casual tops and shirts with knee length shorts and rucksacks.

MUSIC

A single guitarist who played all the songs and background music throughout the whole play, the music had a flamenco twist to get us in the mood, since they were in Malaga Airport.

The songs in this show are great, my favourites are;

  • Thursday Night – a song which revealed lots of important information & had a fantastic mix of singing and rapping
  • My Secret – Solo by Jordan – Amazing vocals
  • Gay – excellent song, asking why everything has to be called “Gay” (this question does get answered…)
  • Spanish Highway – a political history of England and Spain in song, very entertaining as well as educational with excellent choreography 🙂
  • Pete’s Solo – I can’t remember the name of the song, but the actor performed it so well, with so much feeling that I got goosebumps.
  • We’ve left Spain – The final song of the show –  the harmonies and vocals in this song were fantastic!

 

MY THOUGHTS

The standard of acting in this show was one of the best I saw in my week at the fringe festival and the characters were so well written and performed.

The script is very good, there are some real moments of tension and lots of humour too, the storytelling through ‘flashback’ was very effective and made the audience feel totally transported back to the nights in question.

As much as I was offended at first by the sexist comments, it was made clear that it was typical lads showing off with their mates and that the bravado was just to mask other issues.

Departure Lounge was definitely in my top 3 shows that I saw at Edinburgh Fringe, really glad I got the opportunity to see it, I would love to see it again if it comes to London, some time.

Well done to the whole team involved, a real good job!

Links

Theatre Company – Viva Group 

The Bakewell Bakeoff – Also by Viva Group at Edinburgh Fringe 2017

More Edinburgh Fringe 2017 Shows

Review:   Communism: The Musical at Edinburgh Fringe 2017

 

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