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Frank Sidebottom The Home of the Retrospective


Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him well! Live stage shows in Central Scotland, be they Shakespeare or avant-garde.

Edinburgh Fringe 2017: Losers @ Underbelly

What the Edinburgh Fringe website says:

Grab a voting handset, meet four dangerously desperate contestants and decide their formidable fates. It's the most nail-biting TV game show of the decade and no one's going down without a fight. Theatrical mischief-makers Tit4Twat bring their critically-acclaimed satire to Edinburgh for the first time. 16+ (stupidity and real violence guaranteed). 'Tech-savvy dissection of the reality TV phenomenon... shameless' **** (Stage). 'As good as anything on TV – with a much darker twist' **** (WestEndWilma.com). 'Truly interactive and innovative – unlike anything I've seen before' (AYoungerTheatre.com). 'Unique snapshot of our judgemental age' (ThisIsCabaret.com). #LosersUnderbelly

Watch a video:

Hopeless aspiring talents

Losers is a piece of interactive comedy theatre revolving around a spoof reality-cum-talent show featuring four contestants: Sophie, Tommy, Arthur and Rachel. It progresses through a series of rounds as each one takes turns to show off their talents (or lack thereof) and make a series of humiliating confessions. The audience then uses their remote handsets to vote on each colour-coded contestant. The one with the highest number of audience votes gets a point, while the one with the least is subjected to a humiliating and/or painful punishment by the others.

It’s a caustic and spot-on satire of the sheer pathetic desperation coupled with utterly self-serving attention-seeking patterns that contestants on such shows fall into. The humour is often crude and wince-inducing to watch - particularly the violent acts the participants subject upon each other. Nonetheless, at the same time, it’s hilariously funny because of how well-observed it is.

Well-pitched satire

The four actors playing the contestants are perfectly-pitched and their roles astutely characterised. They are a group of people modestly blessed with the tiniest smidgeon of talent, a modicum of personality and a whole heap of personal baggage and insecurities, who are prime fodder for falling prey to the camera’s ruthless gaze and distanced audience. The show’s production design with its infographics, dance-pop jingles and bright visual colour-coding encapsulates the kind of cheesy happy-pill, sugar-coated vibe that dresses up the de-facto exercises in belittling and humiliation that all talent shows, when it comes down to it, absolutely are.

The step of getting the Fringe audience to vote on the participants adds further depth to Losers, by turning the blame for these crass shows back on us. It’s our own glib judgments of people and arrogance that they belittle themselves in the name of cheap entertainment which has caused this whole phenomenon - and as long as we continue to feed it, TV will continue to churn it out.

Losers isn’t for the squeamish and definitely plays best in its late-night slot after some alcohol has been consumed. Even so, if you think you can handle it, it’s well worth making the time to go and see.

Rating: ☆☆☆☆

Tickets are available from the following link:

Edinburgh Fringe 2017 logo

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