The Last Resort, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Cuba Libres in hand, we are invited to pull up a deck chair and enjoy our own private beaches. Two friendly hosts promise us a relaxing, all-inclusive stay at Guantanamo Bay Resort – but given the name of our destination, this tropical holiday is rather different from the norm.

2Magpies Theatre hasn’t forgotten about the infamous off-shore US prison that still hasn’t been closed despite numerous scandals and government-sanctioned torture. It may not make the news anymore, but this piece is an eye-opening reminder that it’s still very much in operation.

Tom and Eve are our hosts, and they guide us through a typical day at the resort. But every exercise, game or bit of reading time is regulated, and eventually provokes psychological or physical discomfort. Though some of these are predictable, others surprise. All are pretty horrendous to take in.

Though the immersive experience is affecting as is, there’s little nuance. Some of the sketches are quite clever, but the initial set-up of the audience on holiday isn’t fully carried through to the end. There’s scope for Eve and Tom to have more distinct personalities and backstories; this would certainly make their roles more sinister.

A clear, thoroughly embedded concept and design give this piece its polish, though there’s certainly some space for adjustments that can make it even more powerful. Regardless, it’s effective in its goal to remind us that US human rights abuse is still going strong.

Last Resort runs through 27 August.

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