Fish Food, Paradise in The Vault, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Avenue Stage
Michael O'Halloran (writer / director).
Des O'Halloran (Joe), Eunice Simmons (Lana), Jennifer Jones (Nana), Miss Mary Mac (Uli), Molly O'Halloran (Tiffany), and Geoffrey Pingree (Bobby).
Running time

The common goldfish is the descendant of the Russian Carp. Raised as a food fish the brighter coloured ones would be picked off by predators, until locals started keeping them as offerings to the Gods.

Into the small pool of new staff at Boston’s Plaza Court Hotel comes Joe, a 21-year-old who has somewhat failed to make it in the larger world. He is having a crazy day, exacerbated by the recent death of his father, a house fire and stalled college career.

He is keen to get a foot on the ladder of the service industry and the $80m refurbishment of the Plaza as part of Hotels of Distinction seems like an opportunity. It’s an era of big is best, shoulder pads and customer service. There might be no class, but there is money. The only complication being that the owner, the mysterious Avery Grand, is rumoured to be bankrupt.

Soon in the clutches of predatory Food and Beverage Manager Lana he finds himself rooming with her PA, Tiffany and being introduced to the temptations of alcohol and sex which seems to get the others through the day.

Juggling the increasing strange demands of work, his Nana (whose mild dementia renders her with goldfish memory and inappropriate behaviour) and his absent Peace Corp mother, things begin to get chaotic. Joe might be bright but is he about to be sacrificed?

The show is amusing rather than funny and most of the characters feel as dated as the setting. The ensemble cast are obviously comfortable together and the performances are good but, like the plot, things do get a bit messy. Elements of singing, juggling and ukulele playing feel shoehorned in, just because they can.

It’s a reasonable show in many respects but it won’t stand out in the bigger pond of the Fringe.

Show Times: 4 – 19 (not 13) August 2017 at 11.25pm.

Tickets: £6.50 to £11 (£10).

Suitability: PG