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Review: Chatham House Rules at Pleasance Courtyard – Ed Fringe

Review by Tatum Stafford


As a non-UK-native, I did a bit of reading up on Chatham House rules – both the concept and the blurb of this show – and was very intrigued as to what this one-person show which opened to rave reviews would delve into.


As we entered the unique bunker space at Pleasance Courtyard and saw the disembodied legs of former Prime Minister David Cameron, accompanied by a scrolling TikTok feed with funny dog and cat videos, and trending sounds, it was clear we were in for one hell of a ride.


The show stars Louis Rembges, a phenomenal and captivating performer, who plays ‘Host’ and interacts with plenty of other characters, mostly in a virtual sense. ‘Host’ takes on a host of roles throughout the play, including a hospitality worker and a cloakroom assistant, and much of the show centres around the mysterious Myopic Corporation conference, which Host attends with a number of other characters, like ‘Deadbehind Theeyes’.


When we meet Host, they have taken a hiatus from social media, which we later learn is because of a very traumatic incident that occurred on Instagram Live. This show makes exceptional use of technical features and a versatile screen that acts as a live feed, a WhatsApp chat, and a Zoom call in the space of a few minutes. Cleverly, the screen has a default setting which mirrors the black curtain and ceiling that we see in the venue – a nice touch in a hyper-digital show.


Louis is a stunning actor, and has a welcoming nature that was a joy to watch throughout this hour-long show. Louis’ writing really shines in this piece; it’s creative, thought-provoking, and leaves no stone unturned when it comes to criticism of PM Cameron’s leadership (he is colloquially referred to as ‘Pig F**ker’ in this show).


Mitchell Polonsky’s direction is very strong, and has helped create some fantastic depth and variety in the small playing space. When we learn about Host’s trauma, it is done in a sensitive yet tense manner which was enthralling, particularly in such an intimate space – both Mitchell and Louis have clearly worked very well together to harness the power of this story and its most impactful moments.


I’m sure ‘Chatham House Rules’ will have a longer life than this Fringe season – if you have the opportunity to see it, I’d highly recommend snapping up a ticket. A fantastically intriguing and powerful piece of new theatre.

Image Supplied

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