EDINBURGH 2012: BWW Reviews: KILLING TIME, Bedlam Theatre, August 8
There’s a lot you can do in a day in the Edinburgh festival and there are worse things to do than squeezing in the end of the world before lunchtime. Killing Time is the story of two teenagers frittering away the final hour before the apocalypse in the way that teenage boys do, nervously talking nonsense and even more nervously talking profoundly.
Student theatre is a staple of the fringe and has a tendency to be rushed-out interpretations of classics or self indulgent new writing; I am happy to report that this is neither. The assured performances of Callum O’Dwyer and Joe McArdle hold your attention as the play progresses along the real-time last hour of their universe.
Writer and co-director Andrew Edwards was apprehensive for his first play to face the scrutiny of a paying audience, no doubt a nerve-wracking moment for any upcoming writer but his charming script - with some lovely one-liners and the use of silence where necessary - is done justice. The necessarily tense performances of the leads complete with feet scuffing and finishing of profound sentiments with swearwords evokes brilliantly the reality of male teenage communication. The dialogue feels natural and flows well; the talk ranges through family, death (inevitably considering the setting) and sex (of course). The majority of the play is light-hearted which makes the moments of sincerity all the more powerful. If you’re especially susceptible to worrying about the pointlessness of life Joe McArdle’s sometimes bleak character may unsettle you. The pessimism of McArdle is challenged by the positivity of O’Dwyer but he can only be so positive - it is the end of the world!
Dealing with such a dour subject brings up some issues it can be difficult to contemplate too closely but somehow you are left in a positive mood. It is slow, not much happens and there is quite a lot of time dedicated to penises but these aspects all combine to create a play that is amusing and poignant.
Killing Time is on daily at 11am (12.30pm Sundays) at Bedlam Theatre until the 25th of August.