ED FRINGE: Color Inside the Lines – theSpace@Surgeons Quarter, Edinburgh

Reviewer: Dominic Corr

Writer/Composer: Jenny Stafford

Director: Penny Cole

Color Inside the Lines. How often were those words hammered into us as children? How often did we follow the expectations that were laid out before us? And just how long did we live with this before rebelling in this mini act of defiance and finding peace.

It’s refreshing to have a musical where the fate of the universe, the history of a great nation, or a herd of anthropomorphic creatures aren’t scuttling around. Sometimes, especially now, the world just needs a humble, humorous, and touching piece which speaks to audiences on their level – somehow detaching from the ego of the industry. Color Inside the Lines structures itself around the life of Jenny as she re-evaluates her time in the high school hierarchy. Going over the cliches, the friendships forged, and the love lost.

Hindsight is a bitch.

A compact production, running at just under the hour mark, Color Inside The Lines is a charming piece of theatre, with a richness in performance and scale to enable writer and performer Jenny Stafford to hone in on the aspects they wish to communicate with audiences and remove any fluff or exposition. It’s a story we’ve all experienced, of being told we’ll never find love by a pal-reading Drag Queen.

Stafford’s presence is the masterstroke of the show, it’s a humble piece, which stretches comedic wings and has a fair beat to it with Stafford’s composition and Mark Castellano’s musical direction. Its musicality has a presence, but not an overarching control. The song structure is pleasant, though one or two numbers do blend into previous numbers’ rhythm schemes and scoring.

There’s a genuine heart to the show which many others of a similar ilk lapse on, as Stafford’s brighter version of the tale gives way to reality – a grounding of expectation, and solemn realisation of truth. It lifts Color Inside the Lines into a special production, which refutes the expectations placed upon us, and the ones imposed on ourselves. Framed in colourful lighting, as the expansiveness of love and self-love grows, this is a more tucked-away Fringe show deserving of your time and attention.

Look. You’ll make mistakes, and sometimes, that perfect little circle is screaming to be coloured all over the lines, all over the page, just colour wherever you damn well, please. Sardonic, and also therapeutic in some respects, this memoir musical is a strikingly relaxing hour spent in pleasant company. The sincerity in Stafford’s performance is the charm of this production, and where it may not seek to ruffle feathers or change the world – if Color Inside the Lines can make one person see themselves differently, well, then it’s all been worth it.

Runs until 27 August 2022

The Reviews Hub Score

Deserving of your time

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The Reviews Hub - Scotland

The Scotland team is under the editorship of Lauren Humphreys. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. We aim to review all professional types of theatre, whether that be Commercial, Repertory or Fringe as well as Comedy, Music, Gigs etc.

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