Endless is a new comedy show that explores the rise and fall of ‘N:Dless’, a fictional 90s dance group. It’s sometimes hard to recall the days before Simon Cowell-manufactured pop dominated the charts. But this show charts a decade where consumerism hadn’t yet taken control of festivals, and free parties were still free. Merging an innovative mix of live theatre, music and film, the show also documents a generation that knew how to party.
“Themes of a rock and roll nature”
Endless is the latest play from comedy masters Trifle Gathering. Director and writer Kyla Goodey and Sally Crooks (who plays youngest band member Eggy) have a rich history of producing theatre that:
transports audiences away from the complexities of everyday life to a comfy space where they can laugh and cry at the complexities of other people’s lives.
Their latest show delivers this through a visually stunning blend of live music, comedy, pop videos, and documentary interviews. N:Dless is the band that never quite made it, but didn’t stop trying. It’s clear from the outset that they split up. As the countdown to a reunion begins, the play explains why. It also explores the deeper undercurrents of friendship, creativity and family dynamics along the way. Musical egos and fragile insecurities mix with the totally surreal. With a stunning sleight of hand, the show leaves you convinced that the band did exist and that you always were their biggest fan.
“I only popped out for a lemon”
Audiences witness the intimate, often ludicrous conversations between Sarey (Mary Woodvine), Malcolm (Dean Rehman), Dave (Joe Carey), and Eggy (Crooks). But as decades and years skip, the audience is also moved seamlessly from watching the band perform live at a festival one minute to viewing a reflective documentary about them the next. It could be confusing, but strong performances delivering a powerful script ensure that these transitions are effortless; as does the comedy.
What sets this apart as a piece of theatre is the stunning mix of film and live performance. The N:Dless documentary, in particular, is standout. 90s legends like Simon Ratcliffe from Basement Jaxx and Chumbawamba’s Boff and Harry recall their memories of N:Dless, alongside other lesser-known 90s dance ‘stars’. This level of knowing self-awareness adds another poignant layer of comedy, not least because audiences also witness the band’s unique method of ‘writing’ profound lyrics. And this, in turn, makes seeing N:Dless perform hits like Ripe for the Restroom even funnier too. Where the classic line “I only popped out for a lemon” came from, though, remains a beautiful mystery.
“Coming of middle age music documentary for the stage”
Audience members who danced through the 90s will recognise many familiar characters in this play. The talented cast effortlessly brings long-forgotten stereotypes back to life. From Afghan hats and a didgeridoo to full hands in the air dance numbers, it’s a breath of theatrical fresh air to laugh through these memories. But the play also holds equal appeal for all age ranges. The 90s was a time largely before the internet, mobile phones and the proliferation of people self-documenting their every move. So for those who didn’t dance through it, the play offers a window into, and back to, this time. It also charts a generation that knew how to party – not in pricey clubs but in fields and warehouses across the UK. And that infectious energy shines through.
The richly textured light and shade of Goodey’s script doesn’t hold back. The best comedy is always bittersweet, and she’s a writer who has perfected this interplay. The shift from the highs to lows of the characters and the band’s history make the comedy moments funnier, and also creates truly thought-provoking theatre.
Outstanding acting and beautifully observed characters alongside the multi-media elements give this show a unique quality that extends beyond the decade it records. It’s definitely a show to catch if you can.
Featured image via Steve Tanner and Trifle Gathering, used with permission
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?