Awkward, non-linear, and embarrassingly melodramatic, Hounded Theatre‘s A+E, is a fine example of how the standard in Fringe productions can oscillate from the spectacular to the completely awful.
Although there is some sort of comprehensible narrative, and the storyline is relatively easy to follow, any fluidity in the piece is completely drowned out by an over-emphasis on exaggerated acting, meaning all principle lines and emotions are delivered like a parody of Shakespeare’s “To be, or not to be…“, and anything that should be suppressed actually spontaneously combusts.
The play juxtaposes past and present with a rather bizarre duologue, littered with unconvincing metaphors and clichéd phrases about love, and a collection of middle-class girls procrastinating their life away in the waiting room of a hospital, ostensibly awaiting news of their errant friend, but instead weirdly discussing details of each other’s uninteresting existence.
The script is poorly written and very one-dimensional, completely lacking any character depth, complexity, or originality, meaning the cast delivered incongruous line after incongruous line.
The director’s intention was to be pragmatic: actors dramatically arriving for their scene on scooters, glitter floating across the stage, and a whole other plethora of inexplicable activities. Sadly, however, it had the complete opposite effect, and if, metaphorically speaking, theatre productions were judged on health, this one would very quickly end up in the A+E.