The warm colours of the set and the chirping birds over the speakers are enough to lure the audience into a daze as ‘Revenants’ plods through a relatively calm first ten minutes. After a quick history lesson about the national politics at work during the second world war, the calmness is interrupted by the arrival of an injured and armed African-American soldier who goes on to educate the Queen Mother and her companions on tense race relations across the pond.
The show quickly dives into short discussions about the other -isms and-phobias that divide and oppress society, from women’s rights to homosexuality laws, however the islamophobic comments made in the play’s opening are conveniently glossed over. I understand that there are time constraints on these Fringe shows and that not all issues can be tackled with the care they deserve, but surely these groups fight for space to be heard enough as it is in the real world. Additionally, for a show that’s final message seems to be that prejudice needs to be fought with rationality and pacifism (and with rich white people on your side), and to understand the perspective of all humans no matter their differences, it leaves a confusing taste in the mouth to have the religious bigotry pass without criticism. It is also unsettling to witness the Queen Ma’am’s ignorance of slavery, despite the massive shadow of British colonialism hanging over her country, being passed off as charming and worth a polite chuckle from the audience.
The performers are, however, very competent and entertaining to watch, with a good dynamic which propels their interactions through scenes in which nothing much happens except expositional dialogue. While at times it feels like a history lesson, the cast are able to provoke laughter and sympathy, and tell a story that at least has its heart in the right place.