Review: New play needs more work

BILLED AS “a Monty Pythonesque comedy” and a re-imagining of John Steinbeck’s, “The Pearl”, Alister Emerson’s “The Fridge” seems to have an identity crisis.

A simple moral story of greed and its nightmare outcome is swamped with zany characters, wacky situations and a monsoon of dialogue. It’s hard to see what the author’s point of view really is.

Doug Small has lost his job, his wife’s pregnant, the rent is due and everything looks bleak until he is given a second-hand fridge that produces golden eggs. Seduced by his sudden wealth, Doug finds out that having money isn’t everything.

Apart from the main characters of Doug and his wife, Florin (played by Andrew Eddey and Linley Jenkins), the other six actors play multiple characters.  There is no-one to identify with here. Doug is stupid, his wife is colourless and the other characters are all obstructive, greedy, unpleasant and clichéd. Performances by the cast were uneven and the naturalistic delivery lacked projection. However, child actor Daniel Minns does stand out from the rest of the cast in his portrayal of the very worldly adult Carson Forbes.

The set designed by Chris Brain, utilising multitudes of cardboard boxes, seemed a bright idea at the start, but caused some very clunky scene changes.

There were too many directorial indulgences and the script needs serious editing, but there were glimmers here and there of clever writing and inventive directing by Alister Emerson.  “The Fridge” needs more work on it yet.

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