Jericho follows the story of a journalist writing a thinkpiece for an online magazine, and in many ways the show feels similar to the best of that form – drawing together different areas and inspirations to make larger comments about how we live.
Lots of companies get the modern world and create work that talks about it well – about pressures facing people, and the doubt of fake news and political shifts. However, few manage to encapsulate the way we live our lives with and through technology, and often attempts to do so can seem embarrassing and out of place. Malaprop are the defiant exception to this – no one else creates work which so well reflects the internet and all its associated culture while completely making it work in a compelling way onstage. Jericho had clickbait! It had memes! It had bloody ASMR!! And none of it felt cringey!
At the core of why Malaprop does this so well is the absolutely pitch perfect writing – while they do some experimenting with form, a lot of the success of their show just comes from the fact that they really, really know how to put words together in a compelling way. They can take statements and positions that seem commonplace, even cliché, and approach them from a different enough angle to make them seem fresh and interesting. They say the kind of things which feel like they perfectly put into words feelings you’ve never quite been able to articulate, put into the mouths of actors who know just how to say them in ways that are persuasive and charismatic and believable.
Of course the show also looks gorgeous – Molly O’Cathain must be the master of making small fringe shows look like they’ve been designed with an unlimited budget that she just chose not to use, with completely cohesive aesthetics and the space perfectly balanced to both be gorgeous in its own right and support the show.
The show is rather short (running at 50 minutes) and it does feel it – though more in a ‘I don’t want this to end’ way than in a ‘I didn’t get my money’s worth’ way. The show manages to pack an amazing amount into its running time without feeling rushed, including how wrestling relates to Roland Barthes, creating memes and the Irish Repeal campaign.
Jericho mostly made me feel just absolutely pumped – not only the embracing of the high drama of wrestling but the intellectual dexterity made me want to whoop my support during the show. One of the best things I’ve seen at the Fringe this year.
Jericho is on at Underbelly Cowgate until the 26th August 2018. Click here for more details.