Binge Fringe Magazine

REVIEW: Indoor Kids, Hoyne and Roscoe Productions, EdFringe 2023 ★★★★☆

A magically surreal tale of friendship spanning decades, cities, and seeming the bounds of rational reality itself is on offer in Hoyne and Roscoe’s Indoor Kids. Noa and JR tell the fantastical story of their lives so far across fifty minutes of sometimes earnest, sometimes ridiculous farcical encounters with one another to rival the plot of a Hollywood blockbuster. Indoor Kids an ode to the joys of friendship, how our relationships with those close to us are presented in the media, and how society expects us to maintain those friendships. Ultimately though this show is a platonic love letter from one Gen Z theatre kid to another, told through one hungover expressive dance sesh to end them all.

Noa and JR appear on stage to tell us they’re way too hungover to do the full version of the show, and instead we will be treated to a slap-dash recreation of their friendship over the years. Delivered in all black with exceptionally minimal staging and props, as an audience we are drawn into the opportunity to experience this friendship through the eyes of the people who were there and nothing else. The duo rely on their immense chemistry and innately complimentary sense of humour to pull us through their journey which all seems quite plausible, of course until one of them is drafted to serve in the Vietnam War and the other’s life seems to oddly mirror the plot of Legally Blonde. Not only do the pair focus on their biographies, but a light-handed satire of how young people’s expectations about ambitions, lifestyles, and telling the stories of those things falter against Hollywood’s scrambling to expect the fantastical from life.

It really is the mundane, blissful and cathartically lived experience of friendship that is celebrated against the comedy backdrop of Noa and JR’s wildly fake backstories. You leave this piece doubting everything you’ve been told except their authentic care for one another. The opening scene sees the pair meet as neighbourhood kids from different religious backgrounds, with one wildly exacerbating their religious upbringing and the other’s seeming quite soberly real. The coming-of-age portion of the story takes the girls to Summer Camps, discovering sexuality, drugs, and alcohol, as well as reading lines for their high school plays by the swimming pool. The story darts from hyper outlandish claims about their lives to picture postcard memories about their youth with ease.

The whole humour of the piece arises in the absurdity of their claims alongside the duo’s zany storytelling style that combines vignettes from their lives with a meta-theatrical exploration of what it means to present a relationship like theirs in the media. From trying to shoehorn in a sapphic love story to please the crowd to an ominous continually referenced ‘big fight’ that is upcoming the entire time. The stage is their playground for the hour, and for a pair of Indoor Kids they sure know how to make a big impression in the wild world. Leaping from sides of the stage to play characters in their life – the cool kids at school, hippies in Upstate New York, their broadway debut – there’s a continual sense of ecstatic quirky joy that never leaves the stage for a moment, and is utterly infectious.

It really is down to the pair’s constant likeability and clear passion to tell one another’s story and all the bits in between that keeps you invested. For a show called Indoor Kids, I would have liked to have seen a little more play with colour and vibrancy, as the pair’s all-black costumes against an all-black stage does leave the whole thing feeling a little bit stylistically shallow. We’re forced to focus our attention solely on the story, and while this works for the most part a bit of theatrical embellishment might have helped keep the piece visually popping alongside the fun storytelling ethos that’s concurrently occurring. The mega-mix meme/nostalgia fest that rounds off the piece is hysterical to watch, but goes on a little too long – the pair admit to us, either in character or not, that we aren’t really supposed to ‘get’ what’s happening all the time, and that works just fine, as long as you are still inviting the audience to be a part of your journey the whole way through. A little bit of workshopping on the show’s plot might help cover that ground a little further.

With capacious joy and boundless energy, Noa and JR leap into a fantastical and whimsical tale of friendship and youthful folly. Sharp, silly, and with a fresh sense of zaniness that holds you throughout, it’s a joyous experience to get to know these two.

Recommended Drink: Crack open a can of lager you stole from your parents’ basement and hang out by the pool.

Performances of Indoor Kids have now finished at EdFringe 2023. Keep up with the pair online for future showings.

Jake Mace

Our Lead Editor & Edinburgh Editor. Jake loves putting together reviews that try to heat-seek the essence of everything they watch. They are interested in New Writing, Literary Adaptations, Musicals, Cabaret, and Stand-Up. Jake aims to cover themes like Class, Nationality, Identity, Queerness, and AI/Automation.

Festivals: EdFringe (2018-2024), Brighton Fringe (2019), Paris Fringe (2020), VAULT Festival (2023), Prague Fringe (2023-24), Dundee Fringe (2023)
Pronouns: They/Them