Little Bulb's kitsch 80s satire is lacking in quality material
This article is from 2013.
Little Bulb’s previous Fringe entries were surprising hits that offered a bold, witty approach to theatre. Their musical about a Christian rock band, Operation Greenfield, was charming and adventurous. This time, the company are looking back to the 1980s and has added contemporary dance into the mix.
Set in a newsroom during the ‘boom’ years of Conservative government, and mixing up the classic TV magazine format with a style of language that owes much to motivational speakers, the show relies more on the visuals and cheeky humour than the slim plot.
Squally Showers has retina-burning kitsch costumes and sets, and terrific deadpan soap opera-esque performances from the ensemble. Featuring weather girls looking to achieve greatness when presenters die and capitalist mantras set to interpretive dance routines, the ensemble tackle the worst excesses of the Thatcher generation, peppered with high-fives, endless chain-smoking and cheesy power ballads.
Unfortunately, the core satire, which is aimed at both the politics and fashions of the time, does not provide enough quality material. The mullets, leggings and soundbites start to grate around ten minutes in; this is a great sketch idea stretched out to an hour and a half.
With this show, their ambition – which was supported in Operation Greenfield by a sensitivity to characterisation and a profound compassion for the struggles of youth – sadly outstrips their ability to develop the idea.
There is no doubting Little Bulb’s commitment and demented energy, which is relentless; sadly, so too is their one gag, repeated ad nauseum. Satire really needs more content and a stronger narrative arc in order to work.
Zoo Southside, 662 6892, until 24 Aug, 9pm, £12 (£10).