Sunday, 23 August 2009

A Facebook Don't

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 09

One could be forgiven for thinking that Facebook: The Musical would be about Facebook, that it would be a clever and insightful idea given Facebook’s current popularity, and that it would be an interesting show. Sadly, it did not quite fit this bill, due to falling far short of the marker.

Starting with a relay of ‘status updates’ about the five different characters to set the scene, the action did not take long to get going, but it was soon clear that the story didn’t have a lot of relevance to Facebook. In fact, it was almost possible to omit Facebook entirely from the show, and do it no real damage. The show was over long and tedious in places, and there was little real wit involved in the writing. More than one audience member resented paying £9.50 to be exposed to a plot which, though mildly interesting some of the time, was not the clever comedy the Fringe Programme seems to promise.

Despite the rapid deterioration of the Facebook element within the play, one could not truly declare the show to be a waste of time, and this merit entirely rests on the shoulders of the young cast. All five performers were accomplished actors and did amazingly well to maintain dwindling audience interest in the face of the rather shambolic plot. In particular, lead female ‘Rose’ and secondary female ‘Patience’ were both brilliant performers with very good vocal ability. The direction was executed well in places with some good ideas, and aside from the copious amount of samey ballads, the music was really very good, and suitably well received.

For an idea with such potential, it is a shame indeed that the Facebook part of the plot was merely a playground of concepts, with no real continuity. One might hope that the actors showcased here might look for a better outlet in next year’s Fringe, in order for their talents to thrive rather than be stifled, and perhaps a rewrite of the play would be beneficial.

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