You can tell that the Poltergeist Theatre troupe (Alice Boyd, Julia Pilkington, Rosa Garland and Will Spence) is a cohesive unit, not merely four hired actors.
With vibes of Ghostbusters or the kids from Stranger Things, one can be forgiven for thinking this is a real-life sci-fi-loving squad, not characters written in a play.
As the performance begins, we’re told that Robert, an eccentric shut-in who rents out a spare room on Airbnb, has seen lights over the Tesco car park. As Alice, Julia, Rosa, and Will investigate, they share their findings with the audience.
Inventive format is the driving force rather than narrative arc. Instead of a story told in acts, the performers break the fourth wall with a presentation of skits, narration, pre-recorded phone calls, and audience-driven re-enactments. Not all have to be plot-advancing: in one segment called “Articles We Found in Our Research,” the quartet dances about as they take turns reading headlines such as “Two Men Teleport into the Past—With a 19-Year-Old Obama” or “The Same Aliens that Killed JFK Rigged the World Cup.”
The performance falters only slightly near the end, when the audience is called upon to help drive the closing sentiment home. Unfortunately, not all viewers can be trusted to participate to full effect, not to mention that the single-aisle venue was not the best space for interaction. The appeal for unity, while touching, could have been executed better without disgruntled audience members bringing the show down with them.
Still, in a Fringe full of rage over injustices, a clever story of friendship and aliens was a welcome break.
Lights Over Tesco Car Park, Pleasance Dome, until 27 Aug (not 22), 10.50am