Dreamland (3 stars)

This article is from 2018


The Crash goes into Hyperdrive

Hyperdrive Theatre's Dreamland is sadly limited by the time constraints of a Fringe timetable: running at the traditional hour, it condenses a fascinating study of human savagery into a series of episodes that expose the viciousness of the business markets and the pressures of a failing economy. The speed of the production throws up underdeveloped characters and subplots – two brokers' broken personal lives become background information, and the top boss is reduced to a menacing yet vague presence. Yet the central morality tale – of how Johnny loses his moral integrity – demands a more expansive and measured script.

Eifion Ap Cadno is superb as Johnny, changing from likeable geezer to nasty champion of financial natural selection. Despite an embarrassing and supposedly comic scene in which he ends up drinking his own jism, his tale is told with fluent potency and his corruption, marked by his attitude to a sweet co-worker, is explicable and despairing. The rest of the cast are stuck with the underdeveloped roles, sadly, playing context for Johnny's success rather than being given meaty characters. Like the timeline of the events, which becomes confused, their stories are lost to the fast pace. The symbolic physical theatre interludes are, likewise, burdened with the need to express too much and fit awkwardly into the more naturalistic exchanges.

Yet Hyperdrive have an important story to tell in Dreamland, and the efficiency of this one character's arc carries its weaker scenes, and the final image of Johnny, staring maliciously at the audience as the light fades, is a beautiful moment that sums up the dark spirit of success that seduces as it destroys.

Zoo Southside, until 27 Aug, 3pm, £10 (£8).


  • 3 stars

Hyperdrive Theatre 'Dreamland tackles pressing social and political issues with bracing theatricality' (Jesse Briton, Bear Trap Theatre). London. Canary Wharf. September 2008. Following the collapse of the US sub-prime mortgage market, the world economy is in free fall. Johnny, an unemployed 25-year-old, thinks he has the…