FRINGE REVIEW: Fairybread promising 'hundreds and thousands'
In a world where growing up equates to the bustle of adulthood and unprecedented change, there comes the inevitable struggle of drifting away from friends. Selling out on its first two nights, musical theatre production Fairybread features Elliot (Thomas Owen) who finds himself in this exact predicament. As adulthood encroaches the protagonist is left to confront the woes of growing up and the irreversibility of forlorn ties.
Dabbling in surrealism and intimate drama, the sandpaperplane original presents a group of five friends who meet one last time before parting ways. The innocent dinner party, however, is quickly unveiled as Elliot's quest to locate the faults within his friendships. Those concerned are the ever-easygoing and loveable Jack (Luke Wilson), Elliot's alluring former love Anna (Madeline Crofts), the charming and peacemaking Naomi (Zoe Everett), and Rose (Lauren Meyers) who provides the rational voice. The facade of a cordial evening collapses, with disputes arising and an angrily reminiscent Elliot leading the way. In what becomes a meta-play, a stubborn Elliot refuses to let reality have its way. The evening is not to be executed without his direct instruction – to be precise, in accordance with his own carefully curated scripts. Yet this is no recipe to fix forlorn ties; the taste of abandonment left by his friends’ departures is far too bitter.
‘Selfish' and 'ignorant' are words thrown around (during the heated repartee) that would adequately describe the troubled protagonist, yet there appears to be so much more to this characterisation. As Fairybread progresses Elliot gradually reveals himself as his own adversary; how can one blame others when one refuses to admit their own wrongdoings? It is the pained individual who, exposed to the contrived nature of diminishing friendships, attempts to reconnect but only winds up pushing loved ones away. In a series of blurred epiphanies, paired with spectral lighting (courtesy of Anais Asotoff), the painful hypothetical comes into play. Though alleviated by booze and some sensual promise, Elliot is still haunted by how he could have done things differently – a feeling surely relatable to everyone at some point in their lives. These raise the paramount questions: does it all start with yourself? Should one initiate and willingly put all their cards on the table in order to engage?
For having only been an hour-long oeuvre, sandpaperplane's Fairybread was simply sensational. The sharp, fiery dynamic amongst the cast remained incontestable, with each beautifully portraying the demand for emotion and human connection. Despite the confined space the ensemble utilised this well and surprised us with bursts of musical theatre – including profound lyrics and flawless singing to match. The increase in the play's intensity juxtaposed by an appropriately upbeat musical score and elements of comedy (e.g. Jack excitedly digging in to a chocolate cake) ensured Fairybread's quality of being both a touching and chuckle-worthy show.
Being left behind and misunderstood are understandably amongst the worst fears for our kind, but it would be a greater loss to not witness this production in action.