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Cellar Monkey and also Bedlam Theatre, Edinburgh

The Edinburgh University Theatre Company brings The Lift to the Fringe this year, with the promise of an “adventure no psychologist can erase”.

The performance follows the happenings inside a faulty lift where nine very different personalities are trapped inside, causing all hell to break loose. The characters include a South American mechanic, an elderly couple, a girl in a wheelchair, her neurotic friend, an Economics professor, an obnoxious fresher boy and a young couple totally enraptured by each other.

This performance might have been more believable and more interesting if the characters weren’t as clichéd and over-acted. As an original idea with a lot of potential, stereotypes could have been avoided by bringing out much subtler differences in personality, rather than the fairly superficial differences of age, able-bodied-ness, education, language and class.

They must endure each other’s company as they await the mechanic…the mystery of which turns out to be slightly racist. If this was deliberate then it was unclear what point was being made.

The site of the lift was also slightly unconvincing. The Economics professor – on his way to a seminar – seemed to know the receptionist, implying a university setting. How did the other people come to be in this building? The young couple claimed to be on their way to a picnic?

Parts, however, were entertaining, in particular the fresher boy played by Nikola Muckajev. The moment where the young woman in love accidentally cleans her face with the mechanic’s oily handkerchief is also pretty funny. The elderly couple’s announcement that they are pleased they can be back in time for the television programme ‘Pointless’ is a clever idea.

The girl in the wheelchair (Kelsey Griffin) is perhaps the only likeable character, whose frustration with being imprisoned with so many irritating people is justified.

  • Comedy
  • By Fergus Deery
  • Directed by Hunter Weinsheink
  • Cast: Rafiki Rhymes, Kelsey Griffin, Lorna Treen, Ellie Sager, Adam Butler, Matthias Vollhardt, Leyla Doany, Jacob Close, Nikola Muckajev
  • Cellar Monkey and also Bedlam Theatre, Edinburgh
  • Dates: 4th-9th August (Cellar Monkey), 10th-17th August (Bedlam Theatre) 2014
  • Time: 00:30 (Cellar Monkey), 15:00 (Bedlam Theatre
  • Review by Tamara Stanton
  • 2nd August 2014

About The Author

Reviewer (UK)

I live in London after studying English Literature at university, and I currently teach and write in my spare time. I was lucky to go to the Edinburgh Fringe with PlaysToSee last summer where I saw some brilliant performances, especially some of the physical theatre. I am very interested in the way space is used in performances, where the imagination of directors, actors and audience work in collaboration.

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