“Store closing in fifteen minutes. All security to level one.” A standard shop floor…except the mannequins come alive.

As suggested by the title, a lone “dummy” dreams of escaping their retail prison. Then one day, a new arrival in the womenswear section shakes up his lonely existence, sparking an unspoken bond (literally). The star-crossed lovers evade the gazes of security guards, watch dogs and a tyrannical floor manager; conspiring to form an escape plan. This family show is touching as well as consistently funny, with the dummies constantly getting up to hilarious antics, as well as dreaming of travelling across Europe.

Escape for Dummies is high energy, with performers shifting between characters and costume

The Nottingham New Theatre continue to create exceptional work, especially family-friendly shows, such as The Toyland Murders at the Bedlam Fringe 2016. In a similar vein, Escape for Dummies is high energy, with performers shifting between characters and costume. The play presents a series of character vignettes, such as the shy security guard and the elderly hopeless romantic, with detailed characterisations and stories of their own. There is an effective balance between these profound mini-stories and caricatures for all the family to enjoy.

As you may have guessed with the show being a mime performance, the story is conveyed without dialogue. Despite this potential challenge, the performers portray plot and characterisation impeccably. The mime is used for outlandish comedy as well as subtle gestures, in addition to references to cinematic gems such as Chicken Run. It was very clear that both children and adults in the audience alike were enjoying the show, what with such a range of comedic tastes being catered for.

this play is a unique and hidden gem at the Fringe

Overall, this play is a unique and hidden gem at the Fringe. It’s a rare show in that it is suitable for the entire family, as well as for deaf audience members. The show only performs on odd dates, so bear that in mind before turning up!

Tara Carlin

4/5

Escape for Dummies is showing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, information and tickets here.

Image: Nottingham New Theatre

Tara Carlin has just graduated from UCL with a degree in English. She has written for the Financial Times, Financial Adviser, and Savage Online. She is an actor and director and has recently set up a theatre company named Shakespeare’s Sister.

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