‘God. Ltd’ marks STAG’s 10th anniversary performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and provides a refreshing departure from the pitfalls of student drama taking itself too seriously. Directed by Ryan Rutherford (writer) and Maddie Beautyman, the play depicts the trials of three angels in the ‘prayer department’ of heaven as they attempt to answer the prayers of humans for the first time. The result keeps the audience on their toes for fifty minutes of politically charged hilarity and upbeat chaos.
The staging is simple but effective, all the action takes place around two desks set up in the middle of a stage which is faced by audience members from three sides. This setup leaves no room for mistakes as each side of the room is exposed to a different angle of the centrally positioned stage. The three leads do well to engage with each section of the audience simultaneously, whilst taking advantage of the intimate and exposed space to invite the audience into the action. The play certainly takes a minimal approach in terms of light and sound effects, but in this case a stripped back approach allows the excellent script and the impressive acting to take focus: Rory Doherty, Tom Rouvray, Ewan Shand and Rebecca Smith’s energetic performances bounce off each other superbly to create on the whole a slick but not overly rehearsed delivery of Rutherford’s highly original idea for a script.
Aside from the heaven and hell puns which tire quickly; the humour is quick, clever and not afraid to be political. The fringe is an unmatched space to be current and unreserved with creativity, and GOD. Ltd certainly doesn’t shy away from topical humour as it takes on everything from Trump to veganism with a tongue-in-cheek approach. The humour comes to life in a really impressive fashion, though the comic timing of the cast is what really stands out in this piece; Rory Doherty in the slaphappy and scatty role of Bob delivers a particularly strong performance as the comic relief to the frantic action taking place. The writing lends itself to the comic abilities of the actors and makes for an hour of genuine fun which guarantees laughs and leaves you wanting more.
Each year the sheer number of Fringe plays which promise to make you laugh can be a daunting and exhausting prospect for comedy enthusiasts, but in ‘GOD. Ltd’ STAG have produced a sharp and genuinely witty little piece of theatre which has you laughing minutes after you sit down.
‘GOD. Ltd’ runs until August 19th and takes place in theSpace venue 9 on Niddry Street