Photo credit: Robin Mitchell

Photo credit: Robin Mitchell

Photo credit: Robin Mitchell

Photo credit: Robin Mitchell

Photo credit: Robin Mitchell

The Brunch Club

Levels Cafe Edinburgh and UWS Cafe Ayr

August-September 2019

A homage to coming of age movies and in particular John Hughes’ 1985 masterpiece The Breakfast Club, the show, written and directed by Ben, took the archetypes of Popular, Jock, Nerd, Goth and Rebel and updated them to the 2019 archetypes of Spice Boy, Emo, Queen Bee, Popular Sidekick, Ned, Geek, Rebel and Vegan Activist.

Staged in two different student cafes in Edinburgh and Ayr, the action of the film was updated in age of character too, to the fresher’s week of a college. The characters responded to a call to ‘create your own detention’ for their own distinctive reasons. Confronting each other over issues of sex, alcohol and drug use, the environment, and human intimacy, over the course of a night new and unlikely alliances are made.

Featuring a history lesson of the entire invention of cliques from the 1940s to the present day, the piece challenged the damaging aspects of archetypes as well as portraying the characters with great humour and compassion.

The show won the Scottish Arts Club Award ‘Bright Spark Award’ for emerging artists. The cast and crew of The Brunch Club were drawn from a workshop and audition programme involving over 150 young people from across Scotland, in association with the Scottish Drama Training Network. The project in Edinburgh was supported by Pleasance Futures.

Joyce McMillan, The Scotsman

At the heart of the show is the sense of a generation that has been dealt a spectacularly tough hand rediscovering the power of conviviality, of conversation and of emotional openness about the issues they face, all achieved with plenty of music and laughter, a touch of poetry, and a series of impressive performances from a memorable young acting company, including Kieran Bole as Spice Boy KB, Draya Maria as activist Rosie, and Jarad Rowan as Eddie, the boy with a guitar, and his own song to sing.

Claire Wood, The Wee Review

Fresh fizzy theatre full of new talent. Inspired by his 10-year-old daughter’s plaintive observation that she wasn’t one of the cool kids at school, writer and director, Ben Harrison decided to take the iconic eighties movie, The Breakfast Club, and reinvent it for the modern-day. Harrison’s production fizzes with energy. He makes fantastic use of the site-specific space with a simple but perfectly art-directed set. Kathryn Weaving also designed the costumes and they’re pitch-perfect for 2019. In a such a fiercely competitive industry, it’s a total delight to see so many home-grown actors in a professional show in the Fringe. The cast are all delightful but Jamie McGregor is a perfect Bad Boy with a well hidden chink in his armour, Rhys Watson is perfectly geekily lovable and Draya Maria, despite having the most future-fit politics in the play, is eminently smackable – in the best possible way. It’s funny. It’s fantastically well-observed: the dialogue is wincingly real. The shoe-shuffle into the history of the archetypes is witty, sharp and fabulously choreographed by movement director Jade Adamson.

David Pollock, The Stage

Grid Iron’s punchy, site-specific coming-of-age piece riffs on John Hughes with entertaining results… a play filled with heart, humour and energetic characters, including Draya Maria’s earnest eco-warrior Rosie, Rudy Punchard’s forthright emo Mo, Jamie McGregor’s rebel Dean and Kieran Bole’s ‘spice boy’.

Robin Strapp, British Theatre Guide

Grid Iron Theatre Company has performed site-specific theatre all over the world. Writer and Director Ben Harrison has chosen the Levels, the latest University of Edinburgh café, as his pop-up venue and it’s perfect. These talented drama graduates perform with conviction in this thought-provoking production.

Donald Stewart, Fringe Review

The dance sequences are simply fantastic …a very coherent and confident cast who nail each character with style and also heart felt emotion. I loved the actors and the acting. It has soul… The major positive, of course, given who were involved in this, is that the future looks pretty positive. These are young actors who, alongside the Scottish Drama Training Network will have been rightly boosted by this run.

Claire Brotherwood, UK Theatre Network

So convincing are they that you would think they are playing themselves, but it is only at the curtain call that their masks fall and you realise they really are acting very well indeed. There are too many to mention for a Fringe review, but the oldest of the characters (and, I suspect the actors), Jamie McGregor adds gravitas as a knife-wielding bully. As he paced around the performance space I really felt intimidated. This study of current archetypes also features an all singing, all dancing trip down the years from the 1940s through Teddy boys and hippies, mods and rockers, punks and emos in a colourful, fast-paced entertainment.

Chloe Burrell, The National Student

We all remember the cliques of high school: the so-called ‘populars’, the goths, the geeks and the rebels. The Brunch Club manages to explore these social constructs and change perspectives in this fantastic new show. The location is perfect for such a show…This show is relevant to all. By far my favourite show I have seen at the Fringe festival this year, I recommend everyone to go see it and understand the relevance it has in our world today.