A perfect example of this can be seen in the fact that Irvine Welsh and Don De Grazia’s ‘Creatives’ was delayed for around 15 minutes when we went to see it on August 2 after ‘The Ping Pong Ball Effect’, the show on before them at Pleasance 1, accidentally released 1000 ping pong balls across the theatre during their performance.
We imagine for both their own sanity, and that of the ‘Creatives’ team, they will be attempting to avoid doing this again. But onto the show.
The Edinburgh Fringe is back! How exciting. We thought we’d dive straight into our hit list and tick off one of local celebrity Irvine Welsh’s plays (he has two at the fringe) early doors.
'Creatives' is an hour and 15 minutes of pop-opera theatre following the narrative of a class of songwriters lead by faded rocker Paul Brenner, who find themselves competing in some kind of end-of-semester competition to win $5,000 judged by former student-turned-sell-out-rapper Sean O’Neil. Imagine O’Neil as a Drake-type but less popular.
If that plotline sounds a bit fanciful - why would a songwriting class be holding a competition between themselves for $5k? - it’s because it is.
To be honest, the only way around that information is just accept what’s happening and move on. Once you’ve done that, it’s actually an enjoyable watch. Though the plot only gets more absurd.
The play is half-musical, half-theatre. There’s a lot of songs in there, and Mark Whyte, who put the original score together, has done a solid enough job with them. Each of the songs fits its respective narrative well, is solidly written and fit for purpose. That said, there aren’t any particularly catchy or standout efforts that you’ll be humming in the days to come.
The Irvine Welsh influence feels very sporadic. Those who have read any of his books - Trainspotting of course being the most famous - will know that he writes in Scottish dialect often, his books are often filled with crass cursing, and they’re almost always hilarious.
There are times when the script is unmistakably Welsh, and times when you’d be hard-pressed to believe he was involved at all. There are definitely a few laugh-out-loud one-liners in there, though.
Paul Brenner and Sean O’Neill are particularly convincing characters and are acted impressively on stage.
There’s another problem though. The ending of the play is also pretty weird. There’s a twist, and it’s surprisingly mainly for the fact that it’s absolutely ridiculous - and takes the play in a completely different direction.
The manner in which it happens raises a few questions about that liberal agenda, and the questions the play had been raising previously as well. Put simply, it’s not good.
We left the theatre having enjoyed ourselves and been impressed by the performances on stage, but the play itself leaves a lot to be desired.
Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33), 16:00, Aug 2-14, 16-21, 23-28