Plague is a tongue in cheek, silly and somewhat bizarre dive into one of the darkest parts of history.
The show jumps between a fuddy-duddy professor, a doctor and a Yorkshire farmer, in the modern day, explaining some of the science and history of the plague and a historic telling of the fictional village of Bogsfield set in the 1300’s.
It was quite an interesting way to tell the story and helped to break up the more morbid pieces of the historic parts.
The songs were nicely composed and very well performed, and this show was really all about the big chorus pieces which the large cast pulled off with skill and mastery. The composition of ‘Dance for God’ both musically and visually were very cohesive and I appreciated the symbolism of the priest commanding his desperate flock like puppets through the choreography.
There were some beautifully sung duets between Harry Beetroot (James Pegg) and LIzzy Turnip (Sophie Massa) which were wonderfully harmonised. I thought that the use of Fulk (Steven Vaughan), the bard character, was a nice touch and helped to push the story forward. One of the standout characters was Father Hamanet he was excellently portrayed by Jason Weightman and he really was the sort of villain you love to hate. It was this character in particular that I felt really showed the absolute absurd stance of the church during in the Black Death and I appreciated the historical accuracy. The backstory for this character was also well written and thought out. I enjoyed the character of Mr Turner (Chris Hall) who provided some excellent comedic relief throughout the piece. The ‘Weirdo in the Woods’ deserves a mention as Anita Adam’s did a very nice bit of characterization with this character and helped refresh the story and liven things up in the second half of the show.
I did find there was a bit too much focus around the root vegetables jokes and although it did provide a few chuckles and a very odd but fairly fun scene between a man and his beloved carrot I did find that it got a bit repetitive. It also felt like some of the jokes and characters felt perhaps a bit too ‘old school’.
The costumes and set design were well chosen and executed and helped sell the piece.
The way that the plague infecting the village was shown through a creepy dancing plague doctor (Anna Halliday) was very inventive, original and added a sinister edge which elevated those scenes.
Overall Plague is a well performed, fun, bizarre ride through some very dark history, with fantastic chorus numbers and some silly and humorous moments. Make sure to go and catch Plague! It’s sick!
Playing until 27th August, https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/plague
Reviewer: Kat Clifford
Reviewed: 23rd August 2022
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★