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Killing Time
Published on Tuesday, 07 August 2012
3

3 stars

Bedlam Theatre (venue website)
Theatre
3-5, 12, 19 Aug, 12:30pm-1:30pm; 6-11, 13-18, 20-25 Aug, 11:00am-12:00pm
Reviewed by Alasdair Lane

 Recommended for age 14+ only.
 Free and unticketed. No pre-booking required.

Let's be honest, 11am on the first Monday of the Festival is never going to be the easiest time to wow a crowd. That being said, the trio of troupers from the Edinburgh University Theatre Company were ready to put on a pre-apocalyptic show laden with entertaining dark humour – but which suffered from some mundane storytelling and loose acting.

With an hour left until the unseaming of the universe, two lads debate sex, family, and the complete futility of life. These two principal characters were initially oozing with intrigue and ambiguity. Unfortunately though, our likely lads descend into tired stereotypes. The laid-back, apathetic “oh if we're all about to die why get stressed” character and his all-too-obviously-different hysterically terrified opposite number were nothing new.

The roles felt a bit overacted too: the crying over the decline of a sibling was a bit too manic, the laughter that ensued after an unexpected punch just a touch too forced. To the actors' credit though, they bounced off of each other well, creating some compelling and often hilarious (if inane) moments, and their enigmatic relationship was convincing indeed.

With a running time of an hour, a two-man show was always going to suffer. It was therefore to my great relief that a third character (a deeply depressed girl portrayed by Amy Plender) entered the scene. While she ultimately had little impact on the proceedings, the new arrival served well to prevent too much mundanity creeping in. The same can be said for the stab at deeper, more emotional content – the laid-back lad's estrangement from his father for example – which provided some substance, but never truly captivated and always felt more like a stopgap until the next priapic gag.

Killing Time is by no means un-enjoyable. The humour was plentiful, and the premise thought-provoking – particularly as we ourselves may be trundling towards extinction, if the Mayans are to be trusted! Regrettably, some one-dimensional acting and a meandering narrative really held it back. All in all, if you yourself have some time to kill, I'd say to give it a go.

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These are archived reviews of shows from Edinburgh 2012.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.

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