Don’t Wake the Damp

EdFringeDampsmWith pulsing electronic beats across a hall illuminated by their shifting projected logo, the grotesque reprobates of Kill the Beast are back in town, pitchfork held aloft, as they unleash their third show on the Edinburgh Fringe. Following their vulgar adaptation of Tom Baker’s novel for nasty children, The Boy Who Kicked Pigs and their own vicious creation, the werewolf musical He Had Hairy Hands, they have now moved to the future with their most technically ambitious adventure.

Written by the cast alongside director Clem Garritty, it opens with an excerpt of the low grade intergalactic space opera The Crystal Continuum, Captain Charismo, BUHBS and Fussbot interacting with virtual characters and saving the day, that day being a shameless pulp science fiction recreation of era of disco. Decades later, the show is long since axed following the tragic death of the lead actor Max Wannequin and is now only almost forgotten.

EdFringeDamp1Two people, coincidentally both residents of the Vertigo Heights tower block, do remember the show, though very differently; exuberant Lexxie O’Townsend (Zoe Roberts) remains a fan of the vintage televised space adventure, while the bitter Juniper Berry (Natasha Hodgson) leads a life of exasperated and bad tempered anonymity, harbouring the secret that in another life she was once an ambitious young star on that very show.

But the arrival of Terry Brambles (David Cumming) from the council upsets their routines as he advises them and their terminally snooty and indifferent oral hygiene obsessive neighbour Devlin Plaque (Oliver Jones) that Tower Three is suffering from damp which is causing “significant collapse” of the complex, and that all residents must evacuate; unsurprisingly, the stubborn residents are not impressed and set out to investigate the basement themselves, an area “darker than a pagan Christmas.”

EdFringeDamp2Jumping back and forth between characters in a flurry of wigs, makeup, coarse diction, dance routines, lizard men and tentacles with a taste for human flesh, the energy on stage is exhausting to watch, and between this daily performance and their encore run of the brilliant He Had Hairy Hands it is a wonder the company have not already collapsed and just given themselves over to the sinister damp, “that ancient enemy undefeated by man across the centuries.”

Hugely ambitious and flawlessly performed, there is front and rear projection of sets, characters and effects on moving screens, shunted back and forth across the stage to catch the light at the opportune moment, props and furniture adapted to become whatever is needed to create the next scene in the meticulously rehearsed show which is justly selling out the house on the reputation for excellence and madcap shenanigans established on their previous visits.

Don’t Wake the Damp continues until August 29th at Pleasance Dome




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