Mon 15th – Fri 26th August 2016


Eloise Heath

at 14:44 on 21st Aug 2016



'Rotterz' is a resounding success. With a Python-esquire charm, it manages to be extremely smart and extremely silly. In a clever mash up of a traditional cultural staple and a contemporary cultural vogue, we see Enid Blyton thrown into the zombie apocalypse. The undead walk the Earth, and they are a bunch of "pesky rotters, the whole lot of them". 'Rotterz' is a genuinely hilarious show, brilliantly written and executed with lashings of talent and panache.

Five chums, 'The Famous Four Plus Dog', are evacuated from WW2 London to a small Scottish island. Much to the delight of Eddie (call her Edwina and she'll make you "poop your own teeth for a week"), not all is well. A missing uncle, a nasty bug going round the island, and a surprising of amount of human flesh in the rock pools. Perhaps worst of all, "There isn't any f****** ginger beer!". The much loved, and much lampooned, Enid Blyton is picked up and dropped into the middle of an undead blood bath- the results are absurd and hilarious.

Reece Connolly has written an incredibly accomplished piece. As well as employing pop culture's current favourite baddies, the script taps into the contemporary by engaging with nuclear anxiety, and even Brexit. Perhaps even more impressively, it manages to make haggis and Iron Bru jokes that are actually laugh out loud funny. There are beautifully self aware flourished throughout, like Bertie's exclamation that "That's a bit strong for a children's book!", and the pause as the narrator goes to fix herself a gin as tonic. Rampant immaturity meets clever satire in an unerringly winning combination.

The cast are strong across the board, delivering every line and every movement with energy, commitment and wit. Meg Hodgeson (Eddie) and Ryan Baker (Dick) are especially hilarious, stealing a fair few scenes. Sydney Goldsworth operating Scamp, a dog puppet with eyes pointing in different directions, deserves a special mention as well. The role of the puppeteer on stage is tricky territory, and the choice to have Goldsworthy enact Scamp's emotions with her facial expressions is funny an effective.

My only complaint is a lack of any blood and guts, promised by the synopsis but never materialising. There are lots of gory sound effects, which do pretty nicely, but some actual blood would have been a fun finishing flourish. A splash zone, whilst not necessary, would have been icing on the cake.

Despite this, 'Rotterz' is a triumph. If you are going to see a show about the apocalypse at this Fringe, and trust me you would almost be hard pressed not to, do not miss this one.


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