The Guardian 7 August 2023

Early in Isobel McArthur’s head-spinning new comedy, there is a gag about the uniformity of hotel decor. The joke is plain to see. Ana Inés Jabares-Pita’s inspired three-level set, as wide as it is tall, has a colour palette that extends all the way from fawn to beige. To move from one bedroom to another they simply have to change the number on the wall. Everything is identical.

“Designs like this, which court the aesthetically unspecific, risk offending no one,” pipes up one of the room attendants.

The remark comes in the midst of a load of funny stuff about badly treated hospitality staff and eccentric guests, so it is not immediately obvious that this is what McArthur’s play is about. But strip away the bland interiors of this rebranded Scomodo hotel and you will find a disused opera house. With every flicker of the lights and ghostly rumble in the walls, it is as if the previous building is trying to get out. Old-fashioned character, passion and quirkiness are attempting to assert themselves over soulless modernity. [READ MORE]

By Mark Fisher

MARK FISHER is a freelance theatre critic and feature writer based in Edinburgh and has written about theatre in Scotland since the late-1980s. He is a theatre critic for The Guardian, a former editor of The List magazine and a frequent contributor to the Scotsman and other publications. He is the co-editor of the play anthology Made in Scotland (1995), and the author of The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide (2012) and How to Write About Theatre (2015) – all Bloomsbury Methuen Drama. He is also the editor of The XTC Bumper Book of Fun for Boys and Girls and What Do You Call That Noise? An XTC Discovery Book (both Mark Fisher Ltd).