Canadian theatre company bluemouth inc had a hit in 2011 with their immersive Dance Marathon. Now, they bring their latest show Party Game to the Fringe. We enter Edinburgh College of Art's Wee Red Bar and a surprise party's being prepared – the recipient is about to arrive.
A party guide is given out, heralding clues as to what will come, and we're put to work finishing the set-up of the room. It soon becomes clear that he's not coming after all. What follows is a mix of immersive action—singing, drinking, dancing—choreographed sequences and broken dialogue between the four characters which gets more and more fractured as the show goes on.
There's a twist at the end, though it spends so long building to it it's likely you'll figure it out before the denouement, and some nice musings on loss, grief and family ties. A poker game where the currency is love is a nice touch, and the house band brings a welcome vibe to the place.
However, hard as the company work, there are several points where the action lulls, and you sit around waiting for the next thing to happen. Billed as two hours, Party Game still feels long at its 100 minute running-time. As it comes to an end, you can't help but feel this party's been a bit of a damp squib.