Winter of Our Discotheque

Tue 12th – Mon 25th August 2014

reviews

Gender Trouble

at 00:09 on 18th Aug 2014

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Winter of our Discotheque follows three misguided teens in their last year of boarding school. Alex has a drug addiction, Laurie wants to commit suicide and head girl 'Mama' intermittently looks after them both.

Whilst the play explored some very interesting topics, it was let down by the poor quality of writing and it's lack of realism. When Laurie was choking on the floor, desperately trying to find his pills, the other two characters merely continued their argument on nationalism ("National pride is so important Alex. It maintains our country's values"). Likewise, when Alex stole a gun from his 'daddy', Mama replied "I'll report you. If someone gets shot we'll all know who did it Alex!". It was this lack of subtlety to the play's dialogue that was it's main downfall.

Similarly, at times it seemed that the writer had simply thought 'what's the worst thing that can happen next' for the characters - for example, first Alex finds a gun, then his sister dies, then he overdoses on heroin and is haunted by his dead sister. It was hardly a surprise that gay tendencies soon revealed themselves, and these were exposed in a way that was both cliched and blatant ("Laurie: Do you think it's true what the Greek say about us all wanting to find another half? Alex: Hmph. Not a job I'd trust a woman with.") This was a shame, as the relationship between Laurie and Alex was an interesting one, and a building romantic subtext between them could have made an opportunity for interesting dialogue.

Overall the play was quite simply dull. The satirical presentation of the posh characters quickly became boring and there were also minor problems such as actors fluffing lines, and moments where the backing music was so loud that the actors couldn't be heard. Sadly this was a uninteresting piece of theatre that failed to convince any level of realism.

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Matthew Lavender

at 02:43 on 18th Aug 2014

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When a show is so minimalist that it never leaves one modestly decorated room, and stars only three primary characters, its success or failure is almost entirely dependent upon the quality of the acting. Fortunately for Winter of Our Discotheque, the performances of the trio that lead the show are so outstanding that the production is propelled to a level most drama pieces at the Fringe can only dream of.

The plot follows three incredibly privileged members of aristocratic families – Alex, Mama and Laurence – in their final year at an esteemed boarding school. It reveals the inner torment with which they are all struggling endlessly, as well as the tribulations that they put each other, and themselves, through.

The contrast in the personalities of the three characters richly enhances the story. The evident chemistry between the actors allows each to interact with the others and play a pivotal role in the development of the general narrative, whilst never straying from their character's unique identity.

Rhys Hayes gives a truly flawless performance as the detestably arrogant Alex. From the very start he exudes a sense of entitlement, encapsulated by his domineering marching around the stage in a way that perfectly fits his character. He is wonderfully convincing throughout, and reacts to every situation that Alex encounters with a remarkable consistency of character.

Initial fears that the character of Laurence would be somewhat one-dimensional are quickly dispelled by Andy Lake, who puts in a stellar performance depicting Laurie’s mental torture and his attempts to alleviate his internal suffering. He is at his best when Laurie is at his most grief-stricken, extracting genuine empathy from an audience that are left mesmerised by the almost frightening realism of his suffering.

Lawel Moakes is equally impressive as leading lady Mama, coming into her own in the latter stages as her veneer of composure falls away and her inner torment becomes evident. If any criticism can be made, it is that her character is portrayed as slightly too approachable early on. Moakes lacks the appropriate degree of arrogance, but she is absolutely superb once Mama begins to lose control of her emotions as the story reaches its finale.

The show’s greatest asset, however, is how marvelously the trio interact with one another, to produce a show that is uncontrollably thought-provoking, deeply emotional, frighteningly realistic and truly captivating. People of the Fringe must make time to see this production; they will not regret doing so.

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