Napier University Drama Society’s latest fringe show In Space… follows the passengers of the StarShip Unsinkable II after they have awoken early on their ship and find themselves stranded in space (hence the title). Whilst the group’s last four fringe shows (including One Musical to Rule Them All and last year’s …And Peggy) have been spoofs/parodies/spinoffs this year’s show is completely original. A familiar concept, but original writing nevertheless.
The show begins with the passengers of the StarShip Unsinkable II as they awake from their deep sleep. Almost instantly chaos ensues. Crew are divided, factions are made, and before too long someone dies. A civil war has broken out on board. Being an amateur production the execution of the show is simple, but not in a bad way. The choreography is nothing too sparkly, but is imaginative and the music is bare, which lets the lyrics shine. This serves as a swift reminder that A-list actors and multi-million dollar budgets aren’t what make a good show.
With the show itself used as a showcase of each person’s ability, it’s no surprise that where In Space… stand out is in the acting. Not only has the script been written in order to allow each character a time to shine, but each person uses that time to their advantage, Emily Doran being a particular stand out in the role of Jenny, stealing the show through her charisma and energy alone.
As for the script, some jokes don’t always land, but the story, message, and structure help provide some pleasant writing. With all of that being said, the show comes with its faults, the biggest of which is volume – of the music and of the actors. The music being too quiet can be easily fixed, but some actor’s singing voices were almost silent. This takes the audience out of the show, as we must now scramble in order to understand lyrics.
In Space… isn’t perfect but it is a wonderful production that through its writing takes on subjects such as politics, morality, and climate change. It is a genuinely clever and cynical look at human nature and serves as a disturbing wake up call with enough laughs throughout to keep the audience at ease.