The Upcoming

Camden Fringe Festival 2017: Seven at the Cockpit Theatre | Theatre review

People of society…what makes a good citizen? Seven is the debut show from exciting new all-female theatre company The Delta Collective that aims to look at just that. It’s a thoughtful dystopian hour of the actually not-too-distant future with a dark air of Black Mirror, showing at the Camden Fringe.

At the Cockpit, the audience sit closely on three sides, watching 14 days of a rehab-style clinical programme play out with seven characters all searching to leave as better members of society. Each has checked in for a reason and there’s a mix of personalities, frequently stereotyped, such as a policewoman with anger management issues, a former child-star, a privileged humanitarian and a doctor who can’t seem to stop smiling. Their stories intermingle as they chat and chant and reflect. Oddly, there’s less emphasis on clinical activities and more to gain from the stand-offs and dynamics of one-to-one conversations that are delivered confidently by the actors.

As expected, this is a production of social commentary and questioning. Some purposed chunks of script are shoehorned to hammer home certain points, whilst others are more nuanced takes on “anti-social” behaviour. There are references to Syria and injustice, but also a few bonus jokes cracked at the expense of avocado and agave-loving millennials (quinoa = trendy seeds…genius). Seven works hard to cover as many sub-themes as possible in under an hour, consequently resonating less, but it ultimately hones in on contentment and happiness. The loose connection to the seven deadly sins is hinted at through the feeling of guilt and not living up to society’s standards, with this glum picture of society juxtaposed with the ear-splitting motifs of Land of Hope and Glory.

Whilst it’s brilliant and refreshing to see an all-female cast, the woman-specific issues seem less apparent and lack impact, missing a golden opportunity to go further and bolder. However, all the actresses are superb without ever missing a beat of staying in character.

What makes a good citizen? As The Delta Collective aptly point out – why the emphasis on being “good”? Surely we’re all just trying and that’s enough? With this, there are a few thoughtful take-aways from an ambitious production that had big intentions, even if it doesn’t quite translate to something profound.

Bev Lung

Seven is at the Cockpit Theatre from 15th until 16th August 2017. For further information or to book visit here.

For further information about Camden Fringe Festival 2017 visit the website here..