City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Circle Line Blues Review


By Gordon Clayton - Posted on 15 August 2011

1
Show details
Company: 
Royal Holloway Musicals
Running time: 
50mins

There was a depressingly low audience for 'Circle Line Blues'. Maybe it's too early in the day, but this was a 'Fringe first' for me. I have heard of the cast outnumbering the audience but this show has a small cast!

As the title of the show suggests, the action is set on the London Tube and follows the interaction between passengers who fall into uneasy conversation linked by song interrupted by announcements from London transport.

One of the challenges of holding a conversation and inviting an audience to eavesdrop is that you have to project your voice to ensure that the paying guests catch every word. 'Circle Line Blues' got off to a quiet start and that stayed with it with a few honourable exceptions.

Set in 2009, the dialogue deals with a myriad of contemporary issues: outsourcing, student debt, the costs of independent living for young singles, the recession, unemployment, the lonely older woman, and of course the carriage 'lech'.

The concept of the show has merit, intermingling cast and audience with dialogue and song lyrics both poignant and ironic. The staging could at little cost have looked more like an underground train carriage and the layout detracted from the production.

At one point, a tramp bursts into the carriage injecting much needed drama and volume to the show. His acting, playing, and singing was one of the high points.

Perhaps, the lack of a decent audience affected the performance of the six strong cast.

The older woman and the girl with the pony tail took centre stage and acted their songs and dialogue, but the others needed to 'up their game' to hold your interest.

Sadly, despite the running time being shorter than advertised, I was happy to disembark and climb back up to street level.

Runs to 20th August, 11.10

Tickets: £4 (£3)

It's tough reviewing a show - and probably even tougher performing - where there's only a handful of people in the audience. The cast should be giving tickets away to beef up the numbers.