Dusk: A Bite-Size Love Story - Greenside Edinburgh Fringe
Still a better love story than, oh wait never mind
After their viral success on TikTok, it was no surprise to see that Dusk had sold out its fringe run, the natural desire to share in collective nostalgia, chuckling at the franchise that many were so obsessed with understandable and healthy. Back in 2009, StarKid had incredible and unprecedented success with A Very Potter Musical, which became a cultural moment all in itself, remaining quotable amongst certain generations today, so presenting an equivalent grounded in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga appears sensible and worthwhile - even a pertinent enough reason to reopen the Team Edward vs Team Jacob debate. The only issue, and the significant difference between StarKid’s production and this one is that StarKid’s was a quality standalone piece of theatre. Whilst still a parody, it harnessed the chaos and the silliness to improve the overall output of the piece, whereas Dusk is an abysmal, half-arsed mess that should never have been placed in front of a paying audience.
Initial chuckles do escape from the audience in the early beats of the piece. For example, Bella consistently gets her daughter’s name wrong, an amusing nod to Twilight fans’ collective agreement that the name Renesmee was a bizarre choice. Another is the continuous replacement of oh my god, with ‘oh my Stephenie’ or ‘bless Stephenie’ in reference to the author of the series but these quips rapidly become stale and worked to death. Deeper issues in the script exist, however. Multiple scenes that require excessive scene changes are one or two lines long, adding less than nothing to the plot or character - utterly pointless. All too regularly the script is actively unfunny, resorting to badly stepping through the original plot accompanied by the odd attempt at a cheap joke, rather than contributing original observations or comedic insight.
The direction does nought to rescue the script, instead hungrily sapping the pace from the already slothful dialogue. Actors compete to steal the spotlight from one another in a fruitless search for laughs, meaning it takes an age to get through every single scene. The near two-hour runtime (no interval) feels like a lifetime, exacerbated by the stuffy venue and most uncomfortable seating in Edinburgh - I quietly willed for it to end. Many of the performances are on the shoddy side with several bouts of cheerless, out-of-tune singing and like the background acting it is best left forgotten - the songs nothing to write home over either.
I admire the tenacity of Wishbone Media as they seek to harness the existing Twilight fanbase with a passion and love for the original material but labelling yourself as an unauthorised parody does not excuse a feeble and underdeveloped execution. There may be something for the most die-hard Twilight fans buried deep down here, but in truth, serious ground-up reworking needs to be undertaken to resuscitate this into a presentable piece of theatre. Go see something else.
Running 9-12th, 14-19th, 21-26th - Tickets