Brighton FringeComedyReviewSouth East

BRIGHTON FRINGE: They Built It. No One Came – The Warren Studio 2

Writer: Callum Cameron 
Director: Lucy Wray
Reviewer: Glen Pearce

We think of cult leaders as charismatic individuals, able to convince people to leave their everyday lives through the sheer power of their convictions. What, though, if your community leaders are, frankly, just dull?

That’s the problem facing Tobias and Alexander. They’ve created the perfect community, Humbleton, a rural idyll where everyday stress can be forgotten and folks can live in perfect harmony. The only problem is, apart from Tobias and Alexander, nobody else has shown up. That is until Brother Pablo takes the community membership to a giddying three.

It turns out none of the three is who they seem, Pablo is the less exotic Tim, Tobias and Alexander are very mundane Melvyn and Francis, a young gay couple using the community to escape their tedious lives.

Callum Cameron’s script is a well-constructed examination of bullying, loneliness and the need to feel a sense of belonging. It mixes often surreal humour, an accompanying troubadour (Eduardo Elia as Bennie playing Ben Maier’s ironic songs) but also packs a real emotional punch.

Cameron also appears as the troubled Pablo, but much of the action relies on the central relationship between Tobias and Alexander and Christopher Neels and Patrick Holt mine the script for every inch of humour and pain. There’s a real connection between the pair, and performances that play the comedy straight. It’s a pitch-perfect reading that suits the material well.

The pairs duo may state that ‘neither of us was very charismatic. that was a problem’ but the 70 minutes spent in this odd but compelling community is strangely engaging. At times you may wonder where the piece is heading but it’s a journey well worth taking.

Reviewed on 7 May at The Warren Studio 2  |  @brightonfringe

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