Camden Fringe review: Boiling Frog (online)

Jo Emery Productions brings this show to the digital strand of Camden Fringe. Boiling Frog is a series of interconnecting monologues across ninety minutes.

Filmed on iPhones and then assembled for streaming, it builds around the story of Bella (Olivia Maiden), a young girl on her gap year who has witnessed the horrors of the Australian bush fires in 2019.

With “we are all stakeholders” as its basic message, we hear from those around Bella – the mother, Jenny (Diane Lukins), who hides her artistic urges; the gran, Susan (Judith Eveson), who has protest in her past, finance-fixated dad Peter (Andrew Macdonald) – as well as new friend Jordan (Tom Stephenson).

Uses cast-made footage and stock images. The state of the climate and mental health are core concerns. Bella joins Extinction Rebellion (XR) to make a difference and share her experiences.

Gran was a Greenham Common woman but have things changed so much that XR is now classed as a threat to national security? Is the need to protest something that the young need to get out of their system?

It’s an hour before we hear from dad, who has no empathy or love for his children and is looking forward to being a dad again to a boy.

Promotional photo for Boling Frog

There’s a disconnect between dad and daughter, who sees her mental instability and veganism as an embarrassment. Sadly dad isn’t that believable, a businessman with dirty fingers and an easy target.

This show, written and directed by Emery, suits its format but you may need to hover over the volume button between scenes. At times the script is a little preachy and could do with a small amount of pruning.

Maiden and Eveson are particularly good in their roles, cut from the same cloth. You can absolutely see them seeing the worries of the world the same way.

Boiling Frog is not perfect, but opens a dialogue about ethics, empathy and entitlement when faced with the state of the world.

You can stream this production through August as part of the Camden Fringe with tickets available at https://camden.ssboxoffice.com/performances/boiling-frog/

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