You can’t help wondering what kind of production Quentin Tarantino would direct if he were ever to come to Edinburgh Fringe. Clearly influenced by the director, new theatre company, Punch Monkey, make in impressive Fringe debut with Reservoir Knobs, playing at theSpace on the Mile.
This is the story of a supermarket heist gone wrong, the robbers are so inept it’s a wonder that four out of the five of them made it back to the rendezvous point. But unbelievably this is based on a true story, and this new Scottish company have chosen a concept and run with it.
The robbers wear latex masks, and are identified only by their chosen animals. Pig and Walrus are the first to make it back, eventually joined by Stallion and Pingu. Pig has received a rather nasty injury to his, well, it’s in the title, and now the rest of the gang must decide what to do now that everything has gone badly wrong.
This is well written theatre, as we get to really explore the characters and their motivations, not an easy thing to achieve in an hour running time. In this slightly absurdist piece of writing we also get to observe how allegiances between the group members shift, and the vulnerabilities in this hodgepodge group who are really only playing at being robbers.
The company also make up the cast; Alistair Maxwell, Chris McCall, Ben Ramsay and Blair Young, all work well together, and although they could refine their pacing, it’s a more than valiant effort for a debut run.
It’s also extremely funny, although the humour is dark and often twisted. They have also managed to incorporate one of my favourite Scottish sayings, “he’s pan bread” (he is dead) which raised more than a chuckle from the audience.
Punch Monkey Theatre say they have the goal of bringing unique working-class Scottish stories to the stage, and with Reservoir Knobs they have made an admirable debut that looks promising for this young Scottish company.