Fox-Light – Camden Fringe, Hope Theatre

Reviewer: Christine Stanton

Writer: Barnaby Tobias

Director: Simon Usher  

When Jay meets Tess at a messy student house party over a puddle of vomit, they could never have imagined that it would be the start of something more than just a drunken kiss. Two egotistical, straight-talking, temperamental artists falling in love should surely be a recipe for disaster, but their addiction to each other is something they can’t seem to quit.

For a debut play, writer and performer Barnaby Tobias delivers a skilfully written gem. The first half of the show is everything fringe theatre should be: Character-driven, talented performers, performing a brilliantly written script to an audience on the edge of their seats. The contrasting monologues about each moment of the party from both Jay and Tess are hilariously written – relatable yet fresh, unique and engaging. The scenes are quick-witted, fiery interactions, performed to perfection by both Martina Rossi (Tess) and Barnaby Tobias (Jay). Their on-stage chemistry is unmatched, impossible not to be hooked on the storyline that unites the two characters. Jay’s self-assured cockiness combined with Tess’s judgemental sassiness is a wonderful combination that brings a multitude of laughs for the audience.

The second part of the play focuses more on the relationship that has built between the two characters, shining a spotlight on the struggles and issues that they fight to overcome, grasping to hold on to what they have developed together and not wanting to give up as they face various problems. While the lead up to the relationship was fast-paced, wickedly comedic and snappy, the script suddenly and drastically slows down, taking a serious tone, losing the humorous retorts between the two well-liked performers, and replacing them with poetic, reflective monologues. While the change in atmosphere is realistic for a relationship becoming stagnant, it could still be implemented while keeping the initial writing style to make it a more natural transition. The change in approach comes too abruptly and partially loses what had been a captive, fully invested audience.

By incorporating the brilliant, witty rapport and pace from the first half, with the emotionally intense storyline from the second half ,Fox-Light would be hard to beat. A world-full of promise from a debut writer and skilful actor who is definitely one to watch.

Runs until 7 August 2022

The Camden Fringe runs from 1 -28 August 2022

The Reviews Hub Score

Strong Chemistry

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