PAMALA - Edinburgh Fringe 2019 Review (Fragments Theatre)


Photo credit: Fragment Theatre

I thought this would be about an old woman called Pamala. It isn't.

PAMALA is an acronym which stands for Protection Against Men And their Lies Act. Needless to say, this is certainly a feminist play.
In fact, it's beyond feminist. It's feminazi. It's set in a dystopian future, mentioned to be some time after 2083, where women have finally had enough of male dominance, and have completely taken over. All bosses are women, all leaders are women. There is, in fact, an app to go with PAMALA. This app has a public record for every male on the planet, sexually in particular.

I love this concept, all that needed to happen for it to succeed was for it to be executed well.

And Fragments Theatre along with Michelle Barnette blew it out of the park with this one. Despite having a definite plot, every scene brought in another joke or metaphor that made a very important commentary on the way that men used to be so dominant in our society, and still are at times.

There's an excellent scene in a nightclub when a man dressed in a t shirt is told that he is "asking for it". It's really very clever.

I loved every single one of these types of things, other than one. There was a Trump joke at one point. Can new writing just stop making Trump jokes unless he's part of the subject matter? Please?

I don't want to mention any actors in particular because they were all really great - if they weren't in a principal role, they were multirolling with some simple yet effective costumes that got them doing as much as the principals for the most part.

Additionally, the tech, set and props are all very convincing for making it look like the future despite being a relatively low budget fringe play. There was one use of props I particularly liked, where their phones were perspex blocks and they shone a torch through the bottom to light up their faces as they used them in the dark. Of course, everyone knew that's how they did it, but it doesn't matter because it was just so creative and charming.

I really wanted to knock a half star off for the Trump joke. But I can't, the rest of the play is practically flawless and incredibly well acted.

Verdict: ★★★★★

"PAMALA" runs every other day (22nd, 24th)at Greenside, Nicholson Square until the end of the Fringe at 16.10.


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