With legal procedurals prevalent on network television, the genre is certainly ripe for parody. Law Without Order is local company Exploding Kites Productions attempt at putting a comical spin on the courtroom setting, with serious drama giving way to farcical situations and characters.
Law Without Order was held in the converted theatre space at Café Outside the Square, and is spent mostly following the court case of a missing prime minister. Multiple witnesses played by the same actor are involved in the case, with the cast rounded out by that of the judge and prosecutor. The humour is centred around the courtroom and case being a shambles, and the judge being incompetent.
It’s great to see local production companies putting shows in the Fringe, and the seats were almost filled at the performance I attended. The performers were also very young, and Law Without Order is their first show for the Fringe, certainly a huge undertaking.
Unfortunately, this show was not good. Everything about it was amateurish, from the story, to the acting, and to the cardboard props. It came across as something that the cast had come up with the week before for a school assembly performance, with perhaps a couple of rehearsals before putting it out to the world. The one shining light was the actor who played multiple witnesses at the mock trial, switching between characters with ease and displaying a keen sense of comic timing. He received the most audience laughs, and deservedly so.
It is certainly important to encourage young performers to develop their talent and style so they can keep producing material and improve their skills in the process. I am not keen on bashing the performance skills of young people giving theatre a go, however, if you are putting a show in the Fringe Festival, it is then going to be judged against other Fringe shows. In this instance, Law Without Order just isn’t on par with other comedy shows at Fringe. There are maybe one or two good elements, but the whole concept needed a lot more polish before putting out for public consumption.
As this is Exploding Kites first production, I really hope they keep working on their writing and performance skills and come up with a future Fringe show which shows their true comic potential. In the meantime, Law Without Order is not a show I would recommend, but is hopefully a stepping stone to a brighter performance future.
Law Without Order’s season has ended.
By Tania Nicholas