The end of the world seems to edge a few degrees closer every year (or indeed every morning when you scroll through your newsfeed), but there was a time on the eve of the year 2000 when for many it felt just moments away. Y2K fear was rife, and the millennium bug infected the collective consciousness.
Argonaut theatre company return to Edinburgh this year (as a New Diorama Theatre Graduate Emerging Company) with a new devised piece set on the eve of the millennium, the big ’00’, where youth, hope and optimism in the form of two teenage sisters meet directly with a conspiracy theorist couple, shot through with fear and doubt. Each are forced to come to terms with the other, as the doom & glory of the new year looms large.
“I challenge you NOT to smile along”
I was a child when the century turned, and my memories mostly consist of silly party games, my new black velvet trousers I wore (so grown up!) and the millennium dome (SO COOL!!). I also definitely wore one of those shiny tinsel-like wigs at some point. Argonaut do an amazing job of capturing the era featuring Tamagotchi’s, candy bracelets and lava lamps. In what appears to be an effort to capture a wide spectrum of memories from the era in the age diverse audience, the older sister does seem to have a wide spectrum of likes (I don’t know many 15 year olds who would have listened to S Club and been obsessed with their digital pet!) but we can forgive them that, it does aid in capturing the dorky teen character she so hilariously is. Besides, I challenge you NOT to smile along with the clearly delighted audience bopping along to ‘Bring it All Back to You’ at 10 in the morning. It’s just a pure blast of nostalgic fun!
“playfully fractured narrative”
The world evidently didn’t end in 1999 but Argonaut have some fun, imagining scenarios in which it might have. The playfully fractured narrative sees them play scenes from the potential futures of these sweet and slightly odd pairings; how does it feel to be fuelled by hope? What difference does it make to be fuelled by fear? What directions can these powerful emotions compel us to take?
It’s not hard to see that 90s nostalgia is in full flow on the Fringe this year, but Argonaut prove you can frame some intelligent questions about the course the world has taken since – whilst still having some fun with it.