It would feel like such a terrible shame if the Fringe were to stop playing host to this sort of anarchic, studenty nonsense, even if no one of sound mind could possibly recommend Communism: The Musical over the countless shows against which it's competing.
While it's generally understood that having an unlikely subject form the basis of an upbeat musical will attract both novelty seekers and those with a pre-existing interest in the chosen theme, this show ardently refuses to satisfy either group. The work indulges us with only a passing mention of communist ideology and we are left questioning whether this is the result of a perverse artistic choice or of all-round ineptitude.
There's a bit of conviction in an opening number which ironically extols the virtues of materialism, but following on from this is a meandering, fourth-wall-breaking story of an inept superhero named the Commufist. It's diverting enough, but delivers too few laughs to justify its lack of focus. In breaking free of their self-imposed theme, the performers ultimately reveal their limitations.
The song and dance routines featured are unmemorable though well executed, while there's better fun to be had at varying cost all over the city. For all these misgivings, it should be stressed that this is throwaway rather than bad and that the entire cast are clearly talented performers, albeit in the embryonic stages of their careers.