Skip to content


Home arrow Archive: Earlier Fringes arrow Archive: Edinburgh 2010
Published on Wednesday, 25 August 2010

4 stars

C soco (venue website)
15-30 Aug, 11:00am (11:40am); 15-30 Aug, 12:00pm (12:40pm); 15-30 Aug, 1:00pm (1:40pm); 15-30 Aug, 2:00pm (2:40pm)
Reviewed by Richard Stamp

101 is one of those difficult-to-review shows, where revealing almost any detail of the plot would spoil a lot of the fun.  But here’s what I can tell you: it’s highly interactive, it’s different every time, it’s based on “scenarios” which you may well recognize… and if you embrace it, you might have one of the most heart-thumping, thought-provoking, just-outright-extraordinary experiences of your Fringe.

This show’s running no fewer than four times a day, with a different “scenario” playing in each slot; the date and time on your ticket decides which setting you’re thrust into.  I’ve seen a couple of them now, and both were cleverly constructed – uncomfortable and dislocating, but working subtly to draw you in.

Initially they feature recurring mantras, which the actors demonstrate and we’re invited to repeat.  It’s a neat device, and a gentle opening for the shyer among the crowd, though (with a full house on the day I attended) it grew a little tedious waiting for everyone to take their turn.  Then, with the audience warmed up, the real event begins; we know our roles and we’re guided through the outlines of a plot, but we’re allowed to change what happens… in fact, we’re allowed to do pretty much anything at all.

Much as I admire the boldness and purity of this audience liberation, some aspects of it do raise concerns.  The tickets and posters are very clear that 101 involves physical contact – but in my case, that contact proved surprisingly robust.  Don’t get me wrong: I’m surprisingly robust too, and it doesn’t bother me in the slightest that I got bashed around as I was toppled down to the floor.  But there were a few seconds when I don’t think the theatre-makers were quite in control… and if the stranger they’d set up to “fight” me had run away with his role, I don’t believe they could have pulled an emergency cord.

Still: 101 is all about choice – and if I hadn’t been willing to square up, I could have chosen to walk away.  Indeed, the most interesting thing about the whole experience is that I’m pretty pacifistic in real life, yet didn’t act that way in the play.  Was I deeply in character, a slave to the plot… or am I simply more aggressive than I like to believe?

These are the questions 101 asks you, if you choose to allow it to; but if you prefer to remain on the periphery, that’s perfectly OK too.  To get the most out of it, you do need to go a little beyond your comfort zone, but that might just mean stepping into the middle of the ring to speak a couple of lines.  Critics will point out it’s an actor’s workshop given the veneer of a play, but it’s still a well-designed insight into a world the audience rarely sees; so be brave, take on a “scenario”… and see what your inner thespian reveals.

<< Bound   Barbershopera - Apocalyps... >>


These are archived reviews of shows from the Edinburgh Fringe 2010.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to those we've featured, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.

Edinburgh 2013

Coming to the Fringe this year?  We can help you make the most of your time.  Learn about Edinburgh's summer Festivals and plan your visit around the city's major events. 

Find out more >>