Has there ever been a board game that is so inherently divisive that is has permanently scarred families and destroyed friendships forever? Licenced in more than 103 countries and printed in more than 37 languages, Monopoly has been causing rows for 88 years.
And just when you think it’s safe to venture out into the Fringe without a trigger warning about that board game, Benjamin Alborough mercilessly foists Absolute Monopoly upon Edinburgh.
Looking not entirely unlike a demonic Stephen Mulhern on the poster, Alborough is the master of ceremonies of one of the most bonkers shows you can enjoy at the Fringe.
Essentially Absolute Monopoly is a reimagining of the board game – remixed to make it wilder, funnier and most importantly, shorter! Two players are chosen from the audience to play the game but the interactivity does not end there. The audience becomes the board (reader, The Recs was Old Kent Road!! No not Park Lane or Mayfair, that befits our upmarket status. Not even Fleet Street as members of the press. Old. Kent. Road.)
And then what can only be described as beautiful chaos descends. Monopoly as you have never imagined it unfolds.
As Top Hats and Stuffed Dogs are thrown around the room, immersive theatre has never been as joyous or as gently inclusive. There is no resisting the power of the game.
Absolute Monopoly as opposed to regular Monopoly draws you in to play along rather than feeling like you’ve been handed a sentence for some undisclosed crime. No matter how much you might wish to resist it, you’ll be sitting there passing Monopoly tokens around your fellow audience members and roaring with laughter.
It’s not often that a review can name a show as “bewilderingly silly” and mean it as a compliment – but that moment has arrived.
Benjamin Alborough presides over the madness with a bamboozled Mephistophelian charm, slyly keeping the plates spinning while simultaneously delighting in every time they clatter to the ground.
If you are looking for meaning amidst the chaos, good luck to you! If you want to emerge laughing and wondering what the hell you just experienced, then Absolute Monopoly is the Fringe show for you!
Chaotic, giddy, and even, at times, wilfully shambolic, there probably isn’t such a stupidly enjoyable show on the Fringe or one that pulls its audience together with such sleight of hand. Madness or genius? You decide!
Just don’t tell Hasbro – ★★★★ 4 stars
(This show was reviewed at Bridge House Theatre during London previews)