Black Bat Productions return to Edinburgh Fringe following a successful 2019 season with two productions written by Nathaniel Brimmer-Beller. Fear of Roses, which is playing at Assembly Roxy is an entertaining psychological dark comedy set in a bank that will keep audiences guessing from beginning to end.
Tabby (Amy Gilbrook) appears to be the boss from hell, having trampled over everyone to get her latest high-powered promotion. Assistant and old school friend Nicollette (Amelia Chinnock-Schumann) bears the brunt of Tabby’s power trip, but the arrival of Keely (Daniella Cunliffe) threatens to expose Tabby’s sordid past and derail her career progression.
Tabby must take drastic action, and the bulk of the play focusses on the relationship between Tabby and Nicolette and the power plays that emerge from that. It’s certainly a rollercoaster ride and we’re never quite sure what to expect next.
It’s well written and Brimmer-Beller, who also directs, has staged it impressively. At times it comes over as satire, at others high-farce, and it could probably do with trying to find a middle ground and settling there.
It does falter slightly in the performances which struggle to be believable, although Amelia Chinnock-Schumann does give a strong delivery as Nicolette. There’s also a slight issue of consistency, for example, the blackmail figure changed four times during the performance. It’s not obvious whether Fear of Roses has been written to be deliberately confusing, or if it was an error on the part of the cast.
Some minor problems aside, Fear of Roses has an appealing storyline that offers something a little different to typical fringe offerings. Brimmer-Beller’s writing is, on the whole, bang on the money with plenty of darkly amusing moments nestled in the compelling plot.
Fear of Roses is at Assembly Roxy until 26th August 2021.