The Beta Males Midnight Movie Theatre – Edinburgh Festival review

A collision of horror and comedy that’s messy for the wrong reasons, says Paul Fleckney

Beta_Males2_Robert_PirouetLate-night experimental shows are an exciting part of the Fringe, and sketch storytellers Beta Males have chipped in this year with their Midnight Movie Theatre show, which somewhat disappointed.

It’s an extension of the “bad movie” comedy night idea where a film is shown, with comedians basically taking the piss over the top. With MMT, the film (a “so bad it’s good” cliché´ fest called Spiders) is periodically paused, to allow the likes of Late Night Gimp Fight and the Noise Next Door to come onstage and perform cameo sketches related to what’s just happened.

It’s a good idea in theory, and may have some legs with a bit of tweaking, but the effect of a series of different acts coming on proved pretty disorientating. The temptation to invite lots of guests and make it a kind of gala show is understandable, and makes for a better poster, but I’m not convinced the outcome was better than just having the Beta Males themselves performing all the sketches. The Betas hosted the show, and when they had their turn to perform a tangential sketch towards the end, it felt right, and certain.

The “immerso-vision” that brought the film to life and literally into the laps of the audience, didn’t amount to much, and most of the laughs on the night came mainly from the film. Max and Ivan’s cameo was the pick, and Noise Next Door impressed, although suddenly lurching the show into an improv section took a bit of getting used to. Having the film’s supposed director drop in to provide some commentary was a highlight, and Gimp Fight showed what wonderful imaginations they have.

A technical problem denied us the finale, which made for a strange end to the night, but then again it had been pretty odd from the off.


2.5 stars
Review written by Paul Fleckney

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