Upon leaving university, we quickly forget the trials and tribulations we face while living in shared housing with other university students. Sex, Drugs and A Cup of Tea doesn’t allow us to quite forget these past memories. The play takes place in a shared house over the course of a Wednesday night-in. Couple Gem (Ellen Shand) and Heather (Alison Brown), and their two housemates, Jonny (Adam Greene) and Sam (Emma Findlay), take part in drinking games over the course of the night as they consume drugs, alcohol, cups of tea and drama. The relationship between Gem and Heather deteriorates as the evening progresses and the entrance of friend and unwanted guest Robbie (Martin Bearne), leaves the shared house a little empty. The play, written and directed by Emma Lynne Harley, takes a small venue and transforms it into a student room, utilising the entire set to give the illusion of a backstage kitchen and bedrooms. Pandorum Theatre Company is working with Aid Gallo an LGBT+ Domestic abuse hotline to create this comedy drama, which deals with social issues.
What begins with a Shrek drinking game, leads the play to tackling some big issues, from domestic violence in gay relationships to anxiety to drug abuse. The cast manages to hold all of this with their great chemistry and natural flow. We forget that we are in a theatre space as we sit through awkward silences that become powerful and meaningful silences between the housemates. Each scene is more powerful and dramatic than the previous and has the potential to feel too heavy, but the humour in the play gives the audience respite. The witty dialogue and hilarious physical comedy leads to credible and believable characters. I do feel, that the storyline and acting requires a bigger space, even though the actors somehow manage to utilise all of it. I wonder if more space would remove the intimacy that is forced upon each other and the audience.
The young theatre company (having only formed in 2015) is doing well to break down the barriers between the theatre and audiences. We are led into a world of secrets and as it turns out no one is innocent. Between the misplaced bodily fluids in cups and secret drunken kisses, this show has just the right amount of filth, comedy and drama that is needed and expected at an evening at the Fringe.
Sex, Drugs and a Cup of Tea is playing Sweet Venues Novotel as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival until 26 August 2018. For further information and tickets click here.
Photo: Pandorum Theatre Company