Samantha Cook reviews for Lippy...
Glitter. Evil laughter related insecurities. Cheese. Evil laughter workshops. Puns galore. What did this show not have? On the 29th of July, LS6 Theatre took over the Alec Clegg theatre with ‘Freedam’, (written and directed by Luke Haywood) a cheese-y, in every sense of the word, cow-infested, glittery rainbow dream. Despite being performed to an audience of university students and parents, every single member was teleported back into their childhood selves for 55 minutes. Personally, I couldn’t have thought of a better way to start my day.
Channing and Ice were once the best of friends, falling out seven long years ago only to come together again for the ‘grate’-er good. Having only known the show through their mysterious and unusually pg-13 instagram (linked here) I really did not know what to expect. I walked into the stage where I was greeted by Jax (also known as Dax, Max and a variety of other names family friendly names). Comforted only a little by his bright yellow dungarees and glittered cheeks, the show began, bright and inviting. Freedam has to have had my favorite costumes in student theatre that I have seen so far. Huge credits to co-producer Saffy Wehren for her fabulous work on this side of the show. Being a very family-oriented performance, every character wears only the brightest of block colours, suitable for their persona. The two ‘Shaggy and Scooby’ duo Ace and Jax (played by the excitable Spike Woodley and passionate Ejiro Imiruaye) wear yellow and red, suitably fitting the fleeting emotions and charming intensity of both. The two were the show’s equivalent of naughty school boys that egg one another on, friends due to their shared passion for the complex art of stealing cheese. What a way to meet! Bouncing between their unfortunate incidents with mind control and falling in love with Daisy the stage-shy cow, these two characters push the show forward with their fabulous portrayal of the B-plot. Next, Ice Cold. The morally corrupt boss of Jax, Ace and Popsicles, played with a skillful shallow confidence by Hannah Whiteway. In her beautifully bejazzled scientist coat and white heeled boots, Ice gives an initial arura of ‘coolness’ to her employees, but before long her cracks in confidence show. Between her child-friendly insults to ‘Dax’ and Ace and lack of knowledge surrounding the ‘laws of cheese physics’. Ice’s character development from a bitter and prickly boss to soft and fuzzy friend definitely gives the audience a ‘warm’ ending to this show, and I can’t wait for children to experience this too.
Lastly, Eva Lafontan, playing both the original evil, turned ‘goodie’ character ‘Channing Merchandise’ (yes that was her name) and ‘Popsicles’, Ice’s meesely assistant turned… well I wouldn’t want to spoil that for you. Channing, being a wig-maker, has a gorgeous bright purple bob, and a black scientist’s, which, of course, is bejazzled too. Mrs. Merchandise is a confident, smart and cold character, but follows Ice Cold’s lead in development. Popsicles, in an attempt to take over the world, whilst on a moon made from cheese, ends up mind-controlled herself. Eva’s portrayal of this moment has to be a highlight of mine from this performance. In conclusion, I loved this pun-riddled and perky performance of ‘Freedam’. An incredibly well written show from Haywood, one that I can’t see stopping after their run at the Edinburgh Fringe festival. With the production team consisting of AD Lewis Fraiser, cofounder of Look Sharp Theatre and co-producer Olivia Blythe, president of Leeds University’s Open Theatre, I can’t imagine where this show will teleport to next.
Their performance dates are the 17th to the 27th of August 2022, at the Perth Theatre in Edinburgh. I highly recommend for an hour of ‘wonderfully cheesy comedy’.
Words: Samantha Cook
Photography Credit: Abby Swain (@abbyswainphotography on Instagram)