The Monster in The Hall – Edinburgh Fringe Festival

The Monster in the Hall
The Monster in the Hall

The Monster in the Hall by David Greig follows a day in the life of Duck Macatarsney as she cares for her dope-smoking biker father who suffers from multiple sclerosis. Duck is anxiously awaiting a visit from social services to check up on them and is terrified she will be taken into care. Worst of all, Duck’s dad has woken up this morning completely blind. The cast of 5 take on multiple characters throughout Duck’s life.

The show mainly uses comedic situations to get their message across. The characters that we see brought into Duck’s life are larger than life; her drama partner who asks Duck to act out sexual favours to convince everyone he isn’t gay, a social worker obsessed with leaflets and her father’s metal head online gaming partner who turns up at their door. Whilst everyone around Duck is a stereotype Duck herself is well written, struggling to deal with her own issues whilst caring for her father.

My criticism would be that at times this play could have been harder hitting if some of the larger than life elements were stripped away and instead it focused more on Duck’s struggles, the struggle that young carers genuinely go through. There are also moments in the show which are unclear as to what they add to the show, for example the ‘scene change song’ moments which stop the flow of the narrative.

The physicality of the show is interesting and kept me engaged. For example they used a recurring motifs of riding a bike from the very moment the show opened, through to Duck’s dad meeting her mum and the conclusion of the show. This kind of physicality sets apart The Monster In The Hall from other shows focusing on this topic.

The cast are overall a strong cast. Duck is played by Esther Wilkes who has a lovely mixture of childlike innocence and a sense of knowing from having to care for her father. Her energy is also great as she bounces around the stage from one scenario to the next. Scott Ringan played Hugh, Duck’s father. His portrayal of someone suffering from M.S was slightly inconsistent with Duck’s description, for example the weakness in one of his legs wasn’t apparent and I found his attack of the shakes uncomfortable to watch, not necessarily for the right reason.

Overall the Monster In the Hall is an interesting watch with engaging physicality however the show needs a few tweaks and development to help the show really hit home and give the topic the attention it deserves.

The Monster in the Hall is playing at theSpace on the Mile – Space 3 on even dates until 24th August. It is on at 12:50 – 14:10. For more information about The Monster in the Hall visit their page on the Edinburgh Fringe Festival website. 

If you like this review you might also like my reviews of My Left/Right Foot and Liz.

 

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