The Community at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre
Fringe festivals are an equal mixture of anticipation and optimism – gambling on certain productions, balanced by the thrill of the payoff. The streams of marketing materials that accompany mainstream theatre often make us blindly biased to certain shows; not so for the Fringe. For this reason, then, the discovery of something as purely fun as The Community is a reminder to those who haven’t strayed to a Fringe in too long.
This witty, punchy and highly enjoyable satire is a treat, its darkly comic vision of the future pitching us a cross between Black Mirror and Parks and Recreation, as it examines the petty politics and existential crises that would ensue if society were relegated to an underground bunker.
A couple siphons extra rations for their child’s birthday party. A woman fights against the two child policy – because she can’t stand her boyfriend. Two men tasked with protecting the last remaining hard drive (containing all of “his-story and philo-Sophie”), bide time in a Waiting for Godot-like setting. Two teachers face an ethical dilemma when requested to quite literally rewrite their history books for the good of the Community. And the magnanimous leader must cope with challenges to her reign from the goody two-shoes Head of Ethics, who finds the policy of abandoning all 60-year-olds to starve to be inhumane.
While certain group scenes veer into straightforward slapstick, the show is best when juggling the verbal warfare of the political factions in the community. There is a sitcom-like, episodic appeal and a brisk touch to each scene, thanks to the impeccable comic timing of each player. The cast is uniformly excellent, and while the brief running time allows little room for character development, each nonetheless finds satisfying character beats. For those looking for a fun evening at the Fringe this year, this is it.
The Community is at The Lion and Unicorn Theatre from 1st until 5th August 2017. For further information or to book visit here.