If you’ve seen these guys on the Mile, often lying covered in fake blood, you’ll know they’re promising a gore-filled slasher parody of an evening. I was more than excited for this, least of all because all of this B-movie ridiculousness would be backed by a musical soundtrack. Unfortunately, I found myself disappointed by the tameness of the comedy, and the lack of a really memorable hook (song or weapon). Much like the murder of the characters in this musical, this is not going to be pretty.
The plot follows a group of American teenagers on a Spring Break trip to Innocent Beach, unaware of the horrific mangled surfer who is out for revenge. Why? We’re never quite told, as not a lot of light is shed on the plot apart from the knowledge that everyone will have been killed off by the end of the show. The plot unfortunately stumbles about throughout. We’re led to an old man who seems to know about these dangers, but only half explains it; the script introduces characters who then disappear or are killed off before they can be expanded properly; the inclusion of two killers, for completely different motives, means that by the end of the play there’s a sense of not really knowing what exactly has conspired.
The musical numbers were also sadly forgettable. I left the venue trying my best to hum songs I’d just heard, only to find that none of them had really been that catchy. The opening number, ‘Riptide’, is an enjoyable one, but it’s a little all over the place. There’s a really excellent number by the old shop owner, but apart from that the songs are a little bland and fade behind all of the fake blood. Characters sing their songs and then die, so there’s no sense of plot advancement from any of the musical numbers, and the song ‘I Got Poked’ has a great joke at the beginning, only for it to be strung out across three minutes without any extra comedy. I loved the killer’s song, but for a musical to get to its penultimate number without being very enjoyable isn’t a great sign.
The most disappointing aspect, however, was the lack of parody in the parody musical. There are some thrown-away gags which are absolutely hilarious, but far too much was just piled under the “generic high schoolers” category. The acting was fine but overall a bit too hammy to really complement the jokes in the script. If only it had received some better comic direction, the musical could have been a lot funnier. The projection screen also added nothing, and if anything slowed down the action.
I can’t fault the use of gore. There was fake blood all over the stage, it’s just a shame it wasn’t accompanied by some catchy numbers and quick one-liners. A valiant effort, but it never quite made it.
Riptide: A Slasher Musical is at Sweet Grassmarket until 25 August. For more information and tickets, visit the EdFringe website.