Fight Night (Edinburgh Fringe)
The new show from Belgium's Ontroerend Goed and Australia's The Border Project fails to impress Michael Coveney at the Traverse
Most election nights on television are infinitely more exciting than this limp voting play – fingers on the button, this is empowered audience participation! – co-produced by Ontroerend Goed of Belgium, the Border Project of Australia, the Drum in Plymouth and Richard Jordan; that's a lot of cooks for such thin gruel.
We are handed our voting pads as we enter and first of all answer questions about ourselves; 51% of us are men, 46% in a relationship, 9% over sixty, and so on, so what... we are invited to choose one of five candidates who stand before us: one's gay, one's married, one's 22, one's geeky and Sophie, who seems and looks OK (gets my vote) is Australian.
A tubby bespectacled host in a checked suit conducts the voting in a flat voice, and it's monitored by two boffins behind the screen. All the questions are superficial and devoid of argument or policy content – are we being told this is how elections really are? If so, balderdash and baloney – and the show goes, very slowly, nowhere. The host resigns to become a candidate and is voted off straight away. We are voting for change, but from what and to what, we have absolutely no idea. Finally, there's a protest vote and dissenters are invited to come on down and sit on the edge of the stage.
How sweet to see the Daily Telegraph joining the radicals at the press performance while the rest of us sit back and carry on moaning about the state of the world, the heat of the theatre and this show in particular. I'd much rather have been watching a shopping quiz with Dale Winton.
Fight Night continues at the Traverse until 25 August