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EDINBURGH 2017 - BWW Review: CREATIVES, Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33)

EDINBURGH 2017 - BWW Review: CREATIVES, Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33)

EDINBURGH 2017 - BWW Review: CREATIVES, Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33)Creatives is a dark comic pop-opera written by Irvine Welsh and Don De Grazia with music by Laurence Mark Wythe. Set in a Chicago songwriting class where students get together to create and critique each other's work, former student and now superstar Sean O'Neil returns to judge a contest, resulting in a finale full of revenge and jealousy.

On paper Creatives sounds intriguing: a story about artistic ownership and cultural identity in the 21st century. It also has Irvine Welsh, of Trainspotting fame, as one of the writers. However, what is presented is a parade of clichés, clunky dialogue and poor storytelling.

The show tries really hard to explore current social and political issues. There is commentary on fascism (particularly relevant this week), feminism and race. All of these issues are presented crudely, without definition - nothing more than angry outbursts.

The cast works hard with the material they've been given, and that has to be admired. However, there is inconsistency in the performances. Not only is there a lack of depth to the majority of the characters, there are some real problems with the quality of the singing.

The cast also plays a range of musical instruments, some with real skill. But the ensemble playing and timing needs to be drilled much harder, as there was a real lack of musical discipline on display.

There are two saving graces: the songs, written by Laurence Mark Wythe, and the performance of Omar Baroud as Luis. The songs are used to reflect the styles and personalities of each of the characters and there are a few standout numbers, in particular "Waterfall". Omar Baroud plays Luis with conviction and is the only character presented with any kind of depth.

Creatives tries hard to be current, edgy and political. However, it fails on all levels. There are the bones of something good, mainly the songs, and perhaps with a lot more work it may eventually become show it tries so hard to be.

Creatives is at the Pleasance Courtyard until the 28th August (not 22nd) at 4pm.

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