Edinburgh Fringe Review: According To His Need

What is it called?

‘According To His Need,’ and it’s by Oliver Eagleton.

Where and When can I see it?

C Nova (Venue 145) 8.10pm, August 3rd-25th (not 11th)

Who’s in it?

Hannah Mamalis and Michael-David McKernan

What’s it about?

A lonely young buck develops an enthusiasm for socialist politics in the hopes of getting tail. Drama ensues.

What did you think?

The play is a lot of fun, despite thinking it’s very clever.

The dialogue is comprised of a mix between amusing back-and-forths and Oliver Eagleton’s carefully wrought takes on Marxist theory. These sections of dense theory are delivered at an impeccably fast pace by the delightfully talented actors, who also never fail to deliver and find the humour in the script – many kudos to Mamalis and McKernan, you were a joy to watch.

Although there is something highly gratifying in listening to well-spun academic wordies, and looking at the pretty people within the well chosen in-the-round staging, the point of all this dogma remains somewhat illusive. The tone of the piece is certainly farcical: for one thing, McKernan’s Nick is clad in a Che Guevara T-Shirt and a waistcoat complete with socialist flair, while Mamalis’ Cass is granted communist symbolism in the form of red lingerie (spoiler). But who Eagleton is actually trying to mock is unknown – pseudo-intellectuals? Pseudo-socialists? It’s possible the joke is intended to be on the audience, assuming we can’t keep up? I hope not, but the application of this abundance of theory needs more direction. The immense care taken to construct coherent arguments strips them of dramatic irony or intent, and so, despite the fun and inviting direction of the piece, I couldn’t shake the feeling that Eagleton is just trying to show off.

Moving on: Other than the superb acting, my favourite thing about the piece was its nuanced observation on relationships. I found myself feeling rather fond of Nick and Cass and their dysfunctional relationship, and the ambiguous final moments left me questioning my ideas on true love, and how far we are expected to ‘make do’ in our search for wholeness in others. This Socialist-Rom-Com is lacking a final and-they-lived-happily-ever-after montage – but that doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t, and that’s awesome.

How many zvezdy?

☆☆☆

Who are you?

Hugo Lau, if you please.

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