The Room - Edinburgh Fringe 2019 Review (Cromus)

Image result for the room edfringe
Photo credit: Ian Kelsey

Perhaps one of the hardest shows to pitch at the Fringe is the one-man (or, in this case, one-woman) musical. Upon receiving a flyer for “The Room” and doing a bit of research, however, I realised that I was in safe hands with regards to this intimate, minimalist production. Musical director, writer and accompanist Alexander Abbott’s years of experience and impressive credentials had me quietly optimistic whilst I was stood queuing for “The Room” and, I am pleased to say, by the end I was glad that I took a chance on such a unique piece of theatre.  

“The Room” tells the story of a young girl (Louise Thomas) alone in a room where, throughout its 50 minute run-time, the audience is drip-fed more and more pieces of information through Thomas’s spectacular singing and stunning characterisation that begin to make sense of her tragic circumstances. To go into any further information would be treading into spoiler territory, but needless to say that this is a show not for the faint-hearted, and when the penny eventually drops it will send chills down your spine. 

There is no other way to say it, Louise Thomas is a sensation. Being able to display such a high level of emotional maturity and musical finesse whilst simultaneously portraying a child to a convincing level is no easy feat, yet at no point did Thomas lose the audience’s attention, nor distract from the serious subject matter. Greg Fitch’s inspired direction has Thomas shifting from moments of childlike tenderness and wonderment to moments of wide-eyed madness and shrieking fury. If she keeps up this standard of performance, I would not be at all surprised if we’d be seeing and hearing a lot more of Louise Thomas.

Alexander Abbott’s writing deals deeply emotional blows throughout “The Room”, with every new realisation about the girl’s life a knockout. The intensity of his lyricism is only elevated by his delicate, almost Disney-esque compositions, a simple musical style that suits the perspective of a young girl to a tee. 

It is thematically dark, almost distractingly so, and the lack of levity could potentially be a dealbreaker for a few audience members. Despite its tough subject matter, however, the 50 minute runtime went very quickly, so if you can manage its distressing themes, this is a show that simply cannot be missed.

Verdict: ★★★★

“The Room” runs until the 26th at PQA Venues @ Riddle’s Court – Q1 (Venue 277) at 18:00

By James McConnell


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