The Factory (3 stars)

This article is from 2014

The Factory

Fun musical theatre piece with an edge of social consciousness, staged at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Presented here as part of the NZ at Edinburgh showcase season, this fun musical theatre piece hits the right note both in terms of its light-hearted musical tone and its packaging of a slice of New Zealand's social history, which is doubtless largely unknown outside of the country itself. The factory of the title is a mid-70s vintage Auckland textiles factory whose bitter, recently-widowed owner Richard is using Pacific Islanders as cheap labour, easily controlled through the threat of deportation.

Into this mix comes young Samoan woman Losa and her father, who are rechristened ‘Lucy’ and ‘Kevin’ by Richard, whose generationally racist views are well-conditioned. Yet when his son Edward falls for Losa, a disco-soundtracked Romeo & Juliet dynamic appears, and it can only end in tragedy.

As a musical it’s fun, although the song and dance sequences never quite hit a height of invention so as to be extremely memorable after the fact. Yet the drama makes all the right moves for a piece of popcorn theatre, and the sense of history offers a window on a time, a place and a people we’re unused to seeing on a British stage.

The Famous Spiegeltent, 0844 693 3008, until 25 Aug, 11.45pm, £10 (£5).

The Factory

  • 3 stars

New Zealand Season | Kila Kokonut Krew A big-hearted musical with all the soul of the South Pacific. Promised a better life in New Zealand, Losa and her father arrive from Samoa harbouring big dreams but end up working in a textile factory run by an unscrupulous owner. Each time the factory bell rings she feels further…