They Built It. No-One Came
They came, they saw, they failed to conquer
This article is from 2016.
Two gay men decided to build their own commune, hoping to explore alternative ways of living. Their hope to build a cult sadly flounders when they realise that they lack either the charisma or the philosophy to attract any followers. When a potential member does arrive, they manage to get him killed.
This pessimistic plot, however, is played for both tragedy and comedy by Christopher Neels and Patrick Holt as the two would-be leaders, with a series of sardonic musical numbers interspersing episodes. There is a lack of dramatic tension in the key scenes – homophobic attacks are played for laughs – although the accidental hanging of their follower captures a sudden pathos.
Neels and Holt have a little too much charisma to be convincing as their characters: the bickering about their beliefs and their vocation is charming rather than hopeless, and the resolution is too easily won. The message of peaceful harmony and toleration for eccentricity feels forced without any sense of the pair's dangerous situation – they are threatened by homophobes and living off the grid. Nevertheless, the smooth structure and the strong cast ensure that this show is a pleasant, if undemanding hour.
Pleasance Courtyard, run ended.