Conspiracy (3 stars)

This article is from 2019


credit: The Other Richard

Slightly mystifying comedy on far-fetched cover-up theories

It's an iconic image. The 1930s. Eleven men sit atop a girder, hundreds of metres above the New York skyline, calmly eating lunch. But what's really going on here? Can we really take this at face value? According to the nervy, suspicious trio in Barrel Organ Theatre's Conspiracy, the photo points to a massive global cover-up, bringing in (naturally) JFK, Elvis, Michael Jackson, the moon landings and even the death of Princess Diana.

There's a lot of fun to be had in the far-fetched opening investigations of Jack Perkins's dark comedy, especially from the awkward grimaces of the trio's ringleader Rose Wardlaw, and her obsessive mistrust of even the tiniest details. But halfway through, things suddenly move into stranger and far less convincing territory, as though Perkins isn't sure of where to take his material next. But there's plenty left unanswered, probably intentionally. Who are these three people, who are they presenting to, and what does the mystifying but elaborate closing sequence signify?

Conspiracy offers plenty of laughs at outlandish cover-up theories. But it shies away from digging deeper into perhaps more troubling issues behind them, and the reasons why many choose to believe them.

Underbelly Cowgate, until 25 Aug (not 12), 4.45pm, £11–£12 (£10–£11).


  • 3 stars

Barrel Organ / Untapped by Underbelly and New Diorama Theatre Princess Diana never landed on the moon. Elvis lives in Area 51. JFK did 9/11. 60% of Brits believe in at least one conspiracy theory. And not all of them are wearing tinfoil hats. Multi award-winning Barrel Organ returns with a larger-than-life, cartoonish…