Games and After Liverpool by James Saunders

The blind elephant theatre company is composed of four actors, Jess, John, Sammy and Ross. Their website jokes that all bar John are successful professional actors, however, teasing aside, all four were extremely talented. I sat down to watch a double bill of plays from a playwright I’d never heard of, James Saunders, that were perfectly suited to this cast of 4.

Their ethos is centred around delivering the goods to an audience and, boy, do they succeed. Although, at the moment, they are clearly a young theatre company, relatively new to the Fringe scene and working together, this production easily shows their potential to grow and develop into an established professional company.

I was delighted to sit down and watch two plays that were witty and thought-provoking and from an old playwright. The Fringe seems to have become more and more full of original new writing, experimental pieces and personal dialogues and, although some of these can be fantastic, it was so enjoyable to sit down and watch plays that had proven their worth already.

I laughed the most I have laughed during this Festival due to Saunder’s witty wordplay and the relatability of the issues with communication that were highlighted in both pieces. The company’s execution of his scripts were flawless, all four had identified what words needed emphasis and where actions spoke louder than words. I personally enjoyed After Liverpool the most as it split the company into two relationships, an A and B and a C and D. I appreciated the fact that both pairs had learnt either part and it was decided by a coin flip by the audience member. This showed how aware and in tune the company was with the script and the possible ways it could be performed. Saunders definitely had a style that relied on ambiguity and left the cast with the decision as to how it should be performed. Games was a lot more thought provoking and asked the audience to question the purpose of theatre – whether it should be used to right injustices and convey a message or is purely there for entertainment.

Both plays were a breath of fresh air at the Festival and this production is up there with some of the freshest and finest work I’ve seen this Fringe. A perfect hour of wit and talent, these plays will blow away any cobwebs and send you out into the Fringe with some new ideas when approaching theatre.

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