What if They Ate The Baby? @ theSpace

The new Fringe First-winning two-hander from Natasha Roland and Xhloe Rice is farcical, beautiful, and entirely committed

Review by Hannah McGregor | 24 Aug 2023
  • What If They Ate The Baby

Fresh off the spurred heels of their smash hit And Then The Rodeo Burned Down, now-consecutive Fringe First winners Natasha Roland and Xhloe Rice return to the Fringe with highly-anticipated gusto. What If They Ate The Baby? is a queer theatrical dystopia, dissecting the relationship of two all-American housewives, trapped in their shared liminal space of the household and their own love affair. The premise is not to be confused with a ‘straight’ drama – Roland and Rice quickly subvert with their highly intelligent, yet wildly entertaining, flair. The pair infuse every moment with their now signature style; sharp wit, inimitable physicality, and the near-flawless synchronisation and characterisation which drew such praise in Rodeo are ever-present and executed with phenomenal skill.

Roland and Rice are masters of narrative, which is evident as the pair play through and subvert the scripted mundanity of the lives of housewives Dottie and Shirley, their shallow pleasantries covering their carnal desire, their verbal stand-offs through their shared language of homemaking creating and breaking their façades. What is most striking about Roland and Rice is their sheer ability to play. This is live theatre as its finest – farcical, beautiful, and entirely committed. As they unfurl their narrative, their picture-perfect Americana becomes sinister, murderous, and quite unappetising. The duo’s unmatched chemistry is only enhanced by Angelo Sagnelli’s punchy lighting design, seamlessly painting the checkerboard kitchen vinyl through a nexus of intensity.

The suspicious goings-on in the neighbourhood feel a little swept over, but the duo’s dutiful polish shines through as we are swept up in their delicious folie à deuxIt won’t be long until Roland and Rice are staple Fringe standouts for years to come – and, as they remind us in this show, there’s a reason we like having them around.

What If They Ate the Baby?, theSpace on the Mile (Space 2), until 26 Aug, 9.15pm, £8-10; theSpace at Surgeons Hall (Grand Theatre), 26 Aug, 11am, £8-10