Edges at the Tabard
Written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul in 2005, Edges gets its first professional UK outing, re-worked by director Adam Philpott for the more miniscule confines of Fringe theatre at The Tabard. It concerns a group of 20-something’s grappling with the anxieties of impending adulthood, afraid of losing their youthful streak, and typically, looking for love. It’s simple, stripped-back, and its focus is purely on the musical performances of its cast.
Staged on a small threadbare set, the four actors offer largely on-song performances. They manage to remain both expressive and in tune, especially considering they are singing for the entire hour-long duration. And, while there is no dialogue, these young actors still manage to breathe dramatic life into the pieces.
However, Edges lacks any coherent narrative thread, and indeed, the non-linear vignettes don’t often appear to co-exist together. What we get is a series of songs that roughly equate to the myriad of questions a young person might have, but without many answers.
Some of the music is good. In Short is about wanting your ex to die, a particularly morbid subject that is performed with a bittersweet and sardonic smile by Christina Modestou. Show opener Become finds the whole cast in full voice, and impressing with their harmonies. It sets up the overarching theme of Edges: being afraid of showing your true colours. However, if this is an interesting set-up, Edges doesn’t necessarily follow through with its central proposition, and instead we get songs about Facebook (probably funnier in 2007), having a gay boyfriend, and falling in and out of love, to name a few. Some of these themes work better than others.
Edges is backed entirely by piano, and while it gives focus to the singing, it doesn’t do much for musical variety. The actors have to work hard to make each song dynamic, and they generally succeed. Choreography by Lewis Butler is in short supply, however what there is works well, especially with a small space and a simple set.
Despite a few obvious highlights, and a strong, committed performance from its cast, Edges’ lack of proper narrative leaves it feeling a little scattershot. Some songs are on-point and humorous, but others fail to really take off. Still, if you’re young and filled with angst, or a Facebook fanatic, you might find plenty here that’s relatable.
Edges is on at the Tabard Theatre until 14th August 2014, for further information or to book visit here.