Spies Like Us Theatre return to the Edinburgh Fringe for a third year, with their highly inventive and thoroughly entertaining Murder on the Dancefloor. In previous years the Young Pleasance graduates have given a physical theatre twist to adaptations, including last year’s Woyzeck. This year they bring an original piece to the Pleasance Courtyard, yet it feels as fully formed and accomplished as an old classic.
For those wondering, the Sophie Ellis Bextor hit does make an appearance, if only briefly at the top of the show, it sets the blood pumping for an exhilarating and often farcical ride through the pitfalls of coming of age. With two friends just finishing university, while another two reap the rewards of having gone straight in to work, there’s an immediate sense of the difficult choices facing young people today.
Murder on the Dancefloor succeeds in combining physical comedy with some serious topics, including the need to find affordable housing, which any millennial in the audience is sure to identify with. Most importantly, Spies Like Us have made sure to embed their now trademark style in to the piece, giving physical theatre a new breath of life through their imaginative stylings.
Despite the small space of their venue, Spies Like Us give the production a cinematic feel, through the use of lamps which flicker and highlight key scenes. The soundtrack lends itself well to the frantic, yet refined choreography from Zak Nemorin, especially in the montage scenes.
While this is very much ensemble theatre, Phoebe Campbell stands out as Sabrina, as the situation the character finds herself in becomes more and more desperate, the agony is visible in Campbell’s performance. Alex Holley, plays the role of Louis, a friend who has found himself blessed following tragedy, it would have been good to explore this character just a little more given Holley’s fantastic interpretation of the role.
Written and directed by Ollie Norton-Smith Murder on the Dancefloor is an exceptional piece of physical theatre which will speak to audiences, no matter which generation they find themselves from. Finding your own place in the world is an important theme which this show captures very astutely, and it demonstrates that Spies Like Us are far from killing the groove.