August 25 – 30
1245 – 1340, Sweet Grassmarket
When they first appear on stage, you would be forgiven for thinking the characters dressed in gigantic food costumes are about to perform a slapstick sketch show or take part in some reenactment of It’s A Knockout.
Peel back the outer layers of packaging on Team M&M’s The Pantry Shelf however, and you’ll uncover a sharply-written and funny satire on commercialism and the food industry. With a giant tub of wasabi peas and genetically-enhanced tomatoes.
Written by husband and wife team Marion Shortt and Mark Prebble, the Edinburgh-based company provide 55 minutes of clever and comedic entertainment as new arrival – Queenie the Quinoa, Date & Bark Bar – discovers the hidden secrets & politics of the shelves as the foods compete for the attention of the unseen human pantry-owner Mandy.
During this tale of chips and chocolate, everything from binge eating to genetically-modified food is satirised by a cast who are not only obviously having fun playing their parts, but also show themselves to be fine comic actors.
Shortt herself plays Queenie as she comes to terms with the decline of her nutritional value, consoled and comforted by an excellent Robert Howatt as the sheepish Paul’s Porridge – who really wants to leave the rest of the breakfast foods behind and join in the fun of the party snacks. Adrienne Zitt exudes a smooth and seductive sheen as the snooty Black Velvet Chocolate; whilst Ewan Law is greatly entertaining as the slightly manic Carlito’s Corn Chips.
Emma Mclennan packs a mighty wallop as the hyperactive Wasabi Punch peas, and the whole ensemble double up as other characters, including gossipping cans, aloof milk cartons and forgotten jars of out-of-date cough syrup.
The set is big, bold and colourful and suits the tone of the piece perfectly, which contains a great mixture of wit, comedy and satirical ingredients to create a rather tasty show you’d be daft to leave on the shelf.
Ticket information is available on the Fringe website.
Review by Keith D