Our good friend, Taylor Mee, ventured to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival as part of The Improv Musical. Whilst he was there, he managed to find a sliver of free time in which he was able not only to see 2 Become 1, but was even lucky enough to speak to the girls behind the show! Beneath this review you'll be able to find a recording of the interview, or if you'd rather, there's also a transcribed version which you can read for yourself!
As a male in his early 20’s I couldn’t believe my luck when I came across Swipe Right Theatre’s pop jukebox musical ‘2 Become 1’ at the Fringe. Having spent many an hour being sold shows that create a “dark, playful yet genuine vibe around the idea of mental health issues within a corrupt government in a post-apocalyptic world all done with puppets” I was genuinely intrigued by something that came across as a lot of fun. The show takes us back to the 90s, where we are introduced to four girls. After one of the girls had recently suffered a tough break up, her three best friends decide to take her to a speed dating event to get over the heart break. We follow their night of mayhem as each presents their chosen techniques when it comes to getting down and dirty in dating lingo.
Like a lone rabbit in a gaggle of geese, I did feel slightly out of place in the queue. Surprisingly large number of girls born in the 90s seemed to be interested in the 90s girl group musical about dating and relationships. Strange. But none of those in the queue came across as intimidating or unfriendly, so thankfully the experience wasn’t hindered.
“I left feeling excited, happy and singing along to all my favourite 90s girl power hits.”
The girls burst onto the stage with 90s energy – everyone was much more enthusiastic about life back then. As they consoled their heartbroken friend they had the audience laughing, both at the comic timing and delivery of the actors, but also at the familiarity of such an event. I personally have never had my heart broken by a boy, so there were a few moments that perhaps swam by me, but that didn’t stop me from giggling away. The songs were carefully thought about – each one reminding me of a wonderful evening spent singing along to Now 31, or being mesmerised by Britney and her genie like ways. It’s the songs that give the piece its contagious energy. From Shania to the Spice Girls, each number had good harmonies, simple yet slick choreography, and the funny characters give the piece a very infectious, upbeat vibe. Midway through the show an audience member was selected to become a guy that one of the girls meet in a speed dating booth. Lucky Derek in the front row was delighted to be chosen – I think perhaps because he was the only male in the front row, not because of his devilishly good looks – and received a good deal of the girls’ attention throughout the rest of the show, lap dances and all. Derek said it was the best day of his life.
The only obvious downside was that the space wasn’t particularly well suited for the show. The Whitebelly resembles an underground wartime bunker – for all I know it may well have actually been an underground wartime bunker – and whilst this makes for a large audience, it gave off a very cold and empty feel (like most bunkers tend to) that unfortunately didn’t quite fit the upbeat, jolly nature of the piece. But hey, it’s the Edinburgh Fringe so who cares. What’s the fun in seeing something in a suitable space? I probably would have complained if it were in a suitable space. So ignore everything I just said.
I went to the show hoping for something fun and that was certainly what I received. I left feeling excited, happy and singing along to all my favourite 90s girl power hits. It made for a lovely change from shows trying to take themselves too seriously and instead came across as a theatre company that very much recognise that there is still a lot of fun to be had in theatre.
Image: Swipe Right Theatre