A scattershot study of slavery as entertainment
Marauders Theatre Company expresses huge ambitions in the script of Grand Guignol: a satire on the entertainment industry – possibly mocking the Fringe's own obsession with success – broadens into commentary on an oppressive state and sexually predatory executives. The young cast struggle to embody these diverse subjects, and while the overall impact is overwhelmed by the shifts in target, there are signs that the company are straining towards an integrated physical and literary performance.
Each of the characters has their scene, in which they reveal the hardships that led them to become literal slaves of an organisation that cares less about their art than their profitability. Notions of commercial tyranny are mentioned, but not developed: the behaviour of The Executive hints at a control network that involves sexual brutality and a police state. This eventually resolves into a performance for a streaming service that serves as the most powerful moment. Three men, dancing for their lives, express their anguish without speaking.
Unfortunately, the richness of the themes, and a plot that lurches between scenarios, taxes the performers, and Grand Guignol cannot contain the ideas it hopes to discuss. The script lacks focus and the characters remain simplistic, yet Marauders are challenging themselves and audiences to integrate serious political critique, physical theatre and a DIY dramaturgy.
The Space @ Venue45, run ended.