They Built It. No-One Came (3 stars)

This article is from 2016

They Built It. No-One Came

They came, they saw, they failed to conquer

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.

They Built It. No One Came.

  • 3 stars

Fledgling Theatre Company 'Neither of us were very charismatic… That was a problem.' Eight years ago, Tobias and Alexander came together to form a spiritualist commune based on their shared visions of a peaceful and harmonious community. They are still awaiting their first member.