Updated: Sep 20, 2019
Sophie Ellis Bextor’s hit 2001 track, Murder on the Dancefloor, pulses through the air, as the audience saunter in through a thick cloud of haze and beams of purple and green light. As the audience take their seats they’re greeted by the dancing collective, Spies Like Us, who soon entice a member of the audience to join them on the dancefloor whilst the others make their way in.
The energy is high, and the choreography is tight, as the collective use physical theatre to explore the struggles of post university life. After three years away at university, home life has moved on without Sabrina (Phoebe Campbell), and she soon finds herself out of place amongst her successful friends and brother Jonno (Hamish Lloyd Barnes), who didn’t go to university. Tension runs high in Sabrina’s household, as her wine loving farther (Tullio Campanale) decides to sell the family home and pursue a relationship with a new woman, Martha (Francesca Thompson). Sabrina moves from job to job, in an attempt to earn some money, so that she can afford to rent a place with her old friend Louis (Alex Holley). Desperation and greed causes Jonno to ruin his sisters plans with Louis, and the play takes a turn for the worst, as Sabrina turns against everyone she holds close in an attempt to find a new home.
Writer Ollie Norton-Smith, beautifully develops the plot overtime, but falls short with a rushed and unconvincing climatic ending. A minimalistic set, with lamps lighting the way, allows for fresh and dynamic movement, elevating their spoken words. Spies Like Us produce some of the best multi-roling I’ve seen in a long time, as they distinctively and seamlessly interweave between different characters.
As a recent graduate myself, I know that moving back home is anything but easy, so it’s nice to see a company represent this on stage for other people to experience.
Supported by Pleasance Futures and named as one of the New Diorama Theatre’s Emerging Companies of the year, Spies Like Us are definitely a fresh company to look out for whilst you’re at the Fringe. You can catch them in The Pleasance Courtyard – Beside at 14:15 until the 26th August. Tickets available here:
Review by Amy Mawer