It’s all a test, right? No one would actually make a group of people do this. Right…? You see - ninety minutes from now, a pitch has to be made to the CEO. A pitch no one is ready for. A pitch concerning a plan no one wants to be a part of.
Taking their stab at Aaron Loeb’s twisting and visceral comedy Ideation, the Exeter University Theatre Company do a sterling job at bringing the play to fresh audiences here at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Remarkably well-executed in areas of adapting, faced with the limitations of space and time, the struggles the production faces tend to stem from the ambitions they demonstrate in trying to overcome these consignments.
Deconstructing the absurdist and toxic ideas of ‘alpha’ masculinity, and the savagery of the boardroom mentality, Ideation is certainly a product of the time. But with a resilient, yet mortal performance from our lead and sole female character Hannah, Ideation’s writing has a wealth of untapped potential which EUTco manages to tease out as the production moves forward. Often cast in a shimmering purple glow, effects are kept to a minimum for the production save for a couple of audio clips to offer a world outside the boardroom.
Much of the cast takes time to find their footing, but by the time the stage is whittled down to the final three of Hannah, Ted and Brock, Ideation has become a surprisingly marvellous piece of farse, with a tremendous amount of physical humour. Here Ted makes their monumental presence felt – the long-suffering silent type just looking to get out of the meeting for his daughter’s game. What the three performances do however highlight the weakness of other cast members, particularly their vocal projection and more surface-level characterisation – though, for one, this is down to constraints within the script, being a much smaller role.
Posing a moral quandary is the bedrock of many theatres, and usually, it's a repetitious or often tread-upon subject. Mercifully, EUTco finds a means by which to locate a voice while wandering down various avenues of Loeb’s work. A psychologically-natured dramatic comedy, Ideation is a reasonably adept emerging work from EUTco that manages to maintain the integrity of Loeb’s original piece while bringing something of their own.
Show Times: 26th - 27th August 2022 at 13.20pm.
Suitability: 16+. Warnings and additional info: Contains distressing themes, Scenes of a sexual nature, Strong language/swearing