Review: Murmur (Camden Fringe, online)

An absurdist half-hoir audio drama, Murmur is available until 22 August as part of Camden Fringe’s digital programme.

This is a “cautionary fairy tale as dark comedy” with four characters: Ren, Bee and Mag. Written and directed by Susanne Colleary, It is full of surrealist turns and scandalous wordsmithery.

Ren (played by Orla McSharry) is plagued by the interfering Bee (played by Sandra O’Malley) who means well but brings into the story the very un-fairytale elements of welfare, health and social responsibility.

Mag (played by Isabel Claffey) is the catalyst who causes the overbearing Bee – a symbol of big commerce and crushing capitalism? – to take aim at a women who just wants to keep her children (Baba is waiting at home) safe and happy.

Promotional image for Murmur

The sound effects are well done by everyone involved; the donkey’s bray, the ethereal music, the moments who prefigure peril to the comfortable ways of life of a country dweller not unlike those who populate the classic fairy tale.

Murmur is playful, satirical, and uses the well-trodden fairytale tropes to explore modern norms and influences. I didn’t find it quite long enough to really take off, but there are some sections which really work, and both McSharry and O’Malley give memorable performances. As an “experimental sound cartoon”, it delivers in creating a magical and amusing world to immerse yourself in.

Fringe rating: ***

Murmur is presented by Magpie Productions, and is streaming until 22 August at the Camden Fringe, and moving from 23 August to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe’s Fringe Player. Tickets can be booked here for Camden, and here for Edinburgh.