"A touching story with heaps of realism" -★★★★ Marmite @ Edinburgh Fringe

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By Flora Snelson, Third Year English

A new piece of theatre at the Fringe, Marmite confronts LGBT issues head on and offers an excellent insight into a hitherto taboo world

I was excited to watch Limerence Productions’ latest offering at the Fringe this year, having enjoyed their debut play Ginger Beer as a real highlight of my time in Edinburgh last August. To my delight, their newest piece exploring monogamy presents the LGBT+ world as vividly as before, approached through the lens of a new, increasingly topical, dimension.

Marmite presents the relationship that develops between Eddie, 23 and Dylan, 21, from their chance meeting in a Wetherspoons in Bristol through the whirlwind of falling in love and moving in together. They are joined by a third character, Rosie, Eddie’s sister, who raises the question of exclusivity between the couple. What follows is an exploration of the highs and lows of open relationships.

"an exploration of the highs and lows of open relationships"

A touching story with heaps of realism, the relationship between Eddie and Dylan is ordinary yet compelling, and the clumsiness of life abounds to make Marmite infectiously real. Its emotional core is balanced well with witty dialogue, and the audience erupts often at some great one liners. Images of twix wrapper condoms, Tom Daley at an orgy and the conception of Jesus as ‘Jerusalem’s first twink’ fly thick and fast across the auditorium, sustaining the energy with which Marmite first bursts onto stage. While this entertains, it often leaves one seeking a breather; slower-paced dialogue later comes as relief towards the second half of the play.

Marmite must be praised for doing a lot with just a little. To convincingly portray settings raging from a vibrant gay club to a wedding reception, with just five square metres and three actors, is in itself a laudable feat, and both the staging and individual performances ensured that it was achieved easily, packing a big punch within a small space. I feel confident that the show, if served by a longer run time, has legs to do more. Marmite touches on salient LGBT+ issues beyond open relationships, such as the question of moving in with your boyfriend when you’ve not yet come out to your parents. In a 90 minute show these issues could be explored in greater depth to give a more rounded picture of the varied interacting pressures experienced by gay men in today’s society.

"the clumsiness of life abounds to make Marmite infectiously real"

Marmite is carried by three strong actors, who afford the narrative lifelike authenticity. Jonas Moore’s performance as Eddie deserves special mention for the degree of pathos which Moore effortlessly evokes from start to finish. All the challenges of open relationships are shared with us - the frantic moment of uncertainty when consenting to new boundaries, the tense moment of jealous uneasiness while watching your boyfriend led into your bedroom by another man. The confident subtlety of Moore’s delivery of these moments serves to foreground the ambiguity and complexities of 21st century relationships. Most hard hitting is Eddie’s sense of isolation within the gay community, tangible toward the end of the play when he declares himself ‘the only guy who wants more than a quick fuck.’

Limerence Productions succeed again at capturing a snapshot of gay culture for audiences at the Edinburgh Fringe by exposing the nuances of relationships vibrantly and vigorously. Amidst intensifying discussion over representation in theatre, it is a genuine pleasure to see Limerence not only putting LGBT issues into the spotlight, but doing so with care and consideration.

★★★★

(Featured image: Unsplash / rawpixel)


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