Pros: This show features effective set-design and interactive fun, and takes place in quirky venue just off Brick Lane.
Cons: The theme is rather outdated, the pace of the show is relentless and there were numerous tech problems.
Losers is a new comedy drama about four university drop-outs with the burning desire to become reality TV stars. After fruitless attempts to find fame on The X-Factor, Bake Off and even Extreme Couponing, Arthur, Rachel, Sophie and Will decide to create their own game-show audition piece. As the four battle it out over a series of increasingly ridiculous challenges, the audience judges who’s the most talented, who has the best bum and who’s the most tragic.
The problem is, the theme’s a bit 2007. Current television audiences prefer structured reality shows, like Made in Chelsea and Towie. The X-Factor‘s viewing figures have long been in decline and Big Brother has been banished to the dreaded Channel Five. The ‘I’d do anything for fame’-phenomenon no longer needs mocking; it’s been a parody of itself for a good while now. In Losers much of the humour is based on shock-factor jokes. At one stage, Arthur pretends to smash Sophie’s phone. In another scene, he and Sophie drink a disgusting smoothie; quite literally a cheap gag. There are, however, laugh out loud moments too. Will’s Beyoncé routine, performed in nothing but his underpants, is a great example of well-timed physical comedy that had me in fits of giggles.
The show’s structure also proved problematic. While a lot can be said for maintaining high energy, and the dynamic pace certainly suits the show, this performance is relentless. As one hyped-up challenge after the next battered the audience, my enthusiasm began to wane. Nevertheless, Tit4Twat (I’m not being rude, this really is the production company’s name) did hold the crowd’s attention throughout. After each challenge, we used a handset to vote for a winner. I found myself watching the challenges closely and had a giggle at the results. The cast fluently reacted to the audience’s judgements, never letting slip that they had an array of possibilities up their sleeve. Relying so heavily on technology, however, does have its perils and sure enough, the handset voter system failed on multiple occasions. The cast were able to save the performance once, but had clearly run out of ideas by the second tech failure. I can’t help feeling that, with such tech issues being so predictable, the crew really should have had a bit more of a back up plan.
Losers obviously had some issues. But Tit4Twat are a brand new production company, fresh out of university, and I’m comparing them to some pretty established pros on the London theatre scene. Losers certainly exhibits some promise for its young crew. The set design, for example, is very effective: colour coded boxes and costumes form a simple and consistent theme. The stage does indeed look like a make-shift game show set, and the simple yet bold props allow for fluid shifts from one dynamic scene to the next. I was also impressed by Sophie Thompson’s acting. She shows strong characterisation throughout, effectively portrays a range of emotions and confidently hops from comic to serious. I’m sure Tit4Twat will learn a lot from their first professional show.
If you’re looking for new talent, or fancy exploring the more amateur side of London theatre, there are far worse places to go than the Rag Factory. This quirky venue sits just off Brick Lane. I wouldn’t say no to an evening of new drama, a great curry and a few drinks.
Devised and produced by: Tit4Twat
Booking Information: This show has now completed its run.