Derailed is just that. It starts on the right track and soon hits the buffers. Spanish duo Patricia Rodríguez and Mercè Ribot, aka Little Soldier Productions, had a hit a few years back with a rambunctious, rock-infused take on Don Quixote. It’s hard to fathom what happened. They have, it seems, lost all faith in theatre.
Derailed sets itself up as a last hurrah, a party to bid Rodríguez and Ribot goodbye. After the refusal to guarantee EU citizens’ right to remain, with Brexit bearing down on us, it’s an interesting start – somewhere between "fuck you" and "farewell". Cava’s dished out. Gazpacho’s cooked up. A gig kicks into gear.
But recriminatory nostalgia gives way to navel-gazing mess. Recounting a series of protests—from recent anti-austerity marches to the peace camps of Greenham Common—Little Soldier question the possibility of change, in particular whether theatre can play any part. Old comrades are now working for Podemos and the UN, while they’re telling stories to small audiences in small rooms. Even Rodríguez’s dad doesn’t come to their shows.
It’s a constant refrain at the Fringe these days: can art change the world? Not like this, it can’t. Gnatty wigs and stilted skits go awry, as Little Soldier skirt the question and skim the surface. The Dalai Lama’s mantra provides solace: “If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito in the room.” Wise words, but he probably meant more than passing on a recipe for gazpacho.