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DarkChat - Reviewing the Edinburgh Fringe since 2008



Chapter Arts Centre – 13th July 2018

Normally, I review a Hijinx Theatre show at the beginning of December and announce that thanks to this

production I am now in the Christmas festive mood. It is therefore a pleasure to vary this formula and

nnounce that thanks to their July production I am now in the mood for the forthcoming Edinburgh festival.


A few years ago Hijinx theatre had a big hit with "Meet Fred" which I could never manage to see in Cardiff.

This was scheduled to be our 1st show in Edinburgh in 2016 but due to a timing misunderstanding we missed

it. History nearly repeated itself tonight as I only arrived at Chapter box office at 7.55pm but fortunately, I was

able to gain entry which was a great relief as I would not have wanted to miss what followed.


"The Flop" is a story of the Marquis De Longey who despite having a happy marriage finds himself in court

having to defend himself against accusations of failing to consummate his marriage. This is certainly an

interesting premise for a play and in the safe hands of Hijinx Theatre (& Spymonkey) this is a sublime romp

from beginning to end.


A multi-talented cast of 6 effortlessly combine humour, music and slapstick to keep a large, enthusiastic audience entertained throughout. Beautifully written by Petra Massey and Aitor Basauri the script is witty, occasionally rude providing lots of laugh out loud moments.


But, impressively within this framework there are lot of opportunities for this cast to ad-lib and interact with the audience. This occasionally threatens to disrail the show but the experience of the lead actors ensures that they soon get back on track often stating " the show is only meant to last one hour".


I have been a fan of Gagglebabble Theatre over the last few years and am well aware of the talents of Hannah McPake (a previous DarkChat nominee for "Wonderman") but tonight she produced a comic masterclass. A knowing look, a great singing voice and a wonderful dual performance in the court scene had the audience in the palm of her hand.


It says a lot for Iain Gibbons and Jess Mabel Jones as the hapless married couple that they more than held their own against Miss McPake. Also, I mustn't overlook the impressive efforts of Ted Lishman's great versatility in a variety of differing roles, Jonathan Pugh a true scene- stealing master of slapstick and Adam C Webb who often found himself alone on stage, showing wonderful composure by taking his time and drawing the audience in to see what he would do next. As I know myself as an occasional amateur dramatics performer this can be a very nerve-racking but ultimately rewarding moment.


Having had a great evening I will venture a couple of suggestions to improve the show. Firstly, some of the very funny lines are drowned out by the music, so the volume could be appreciated. Also, time is a big element in Edinburgh and over-running is a cardinal sin. So, although it is important to leave space for improvisation it will need to be a little lighter by the time it reaches the Scottish capital.


Right, having got that off my chest I will re-iterate that this show is an utter joy. The audience and the performers were clearly having a great time and I predict "The Flop" will be a massive hit.


(In fact I am trying to re-shuffle our busy schedule to see if I can arrange a return visit). So, once again I offer my congratulations to all those concerned with this production. See below for where and when to see "The Flop" at Summerhall.

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