Home » Reviews » The Probleming, Tristan Bates Theatre – Review
Credit: Bad Bat Productions
Credit: Bad Bat Productions

The Probleming, Tristan Bates Theatre – Review

Pros: Young, enthusiastic cast making best of the material available.

Cons: Tries too hard to be funny, weak script with a predictable plotline.

Pros: Young, enthusiastic cast making best of the material available. Cons: Tries too hard to be funny, weak script with a predictable plotline. I’d not previously heard of the Tristan Bates Theatre, although must have walked past it a thousand times positioned as it is between Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross Road. Bad Bat Productions' The Probleming is presented as part of the Camden Fringe Festival which once again provides a showcase for new and emerging talent. Cynthia, bored with University life, somehow ends up in the company of Nicole, a loud party girl obsessed by three childhood friends…

Summary

rating

Poor

Our verdict: A misjudged pastiche of the Blair Witch Project that ended up more like Scary Movie, only not as funny.

User Rating: 4.44 ( 8 votes)

I’d not previously heard of the Tristan Bates Theatre, although must have walked past it a thousand times positioned as it is between Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross Road. Bad Bat ProductionsThe Probleming is presented as part of the Camden Fringe Festival which once again provides a showcase for new and emerging talent.

Cynthia, bored with University life, somehow ends up in the company of Nicole, a loud party girl obsessed by three childhood friends who never made it through puberty. Cynthia is frequently unsettled by Nicole’s ongoing battle with mortality. Musing in the student union bar, they look for time fillers to break the monotony. They are intrigued by the Speculative Analysis Group, predictably known as Spec Anal; members are dedicated to the investigation of paranormal activity. They meet Dave, campus nerd and psychic all rolled into one. They soon discover that Dave is the only member of Spec Anal. Undaunted, the trio take to the woods in search of paranormal activity. Both Cynthia and Nicole are forced to confront their demons in a desolate wasteland. As they come to a halt in an empty barn, the voices Cynthia thought she could faintly hear grow louder. Nicole’s sense of foreboding intensifies as artificial lights fade in and out. Does Dave have a hidden agenda? Does this not ring the tiniest of bells with anyone?

Sadly, the script had a number of defects, but for me the lack of imagination in the plotline was the biggest issue, and I found that the characters did not have much depth to them. As a rule, I am easily pleased when it comes to comedy, but this piece just wasn’t  as funny as I had hoped.

All creatives borrow ideas from fellow writers and directors; there are after all, only seven plots for a story, so the possibilities are limited. However, it’s what the script writer does with the story after its borrowed that really counts. What might sound like a great plan on paper doesn’t always translate well to screen or stage. There’s nothing wrong with redoing a well-worn tale, but it has to bring something original and daring to the table. This production was an unruly rehash and added nothing of value to the horror genre. The cast, Emma Sterling (Cynthia), Ellen Gallagher (Nicole) and Adam Joselyn (Dave) all tried their best but ultimately failed to make the story work.

Writer & Director: Steve Jordan
Producers: Steve Jordan & Ellen Gallagher
Box Office: 0207 240 6283
Booking link: http://tristanbatestheatre.co.uk/whats-on/the-probleming–camden-fringe-2014
Booking until: 2 August 2014

About Brian Penn

Brian Penn
Civil Servant. Brian flirted with drama at school but artistic differences forced a painful separation. At least he knows what his motivation is. Now occupying a safe position in the audience he enjoys all kinds of theatre. He was bitten by the theatrical bug after watching a production of Tommy in his teens. Other passions include films, TV and classic rhythm and blues. He also finds time for quizzes, football and squash. A keen sports fan, his enthusiasm crashes to a halt whenever anyone mentions golf. A musical based on the life of Tiger Woods could be his greatest challenge.