19 September 2013
The Owl and the Pussycat
to 29 September
Kissing Booth is very influenced by TV romantic sit coms. There's witty banter and jaded 20-somethings, but it's biggest problem is that it takes nearly two hours to tell a 26-minute episode.
Three 20-somethings set up a kissing booth on the street for a uni project. Along comes a faultless and spunky young man who all three (men and women) fall instantly in love with. Who will he choose? And the kissing booth is never heard of or thematically referenced again.
There's a lovely story and some good and funny writing hidden in this over-written script, but there's too much stage time devoted to telling us what we've known from the opening scene and repeating jokes. And all rom coms (telly, film or stage) have one rule that must be obeyed: Compelling reasons for the lovers to be together (make us care so much that it hurts) and ensuring that the world and their own flaws keep them apart. I have no idea which coupling we were meant to be rooting for.
There's also an odd mix of on-stage styles and dead stage time that takes away from the story and reminds us that we're watching actors, rather than caring for characters. And the melodrama of the ending isn't earned. Drama isn't dramatic things happening
Fringes exist to encourage emerging creators and Kissing Booth shows a heap of talent that's going to be around for a while, but it didn't speak to me and is still setting into its run.
However, running 20 minutes over time is unforgivable in a Fringe. It shows a disrespect to the audiences (who might miss another show because of the over run or not have time to eat or wee before their next show), to the other companies who don't get the bump in and settle in time they deserve, and to the venue that's hosting you.