if we do say so ourselves…

bad things happen here had a fantastic run in Edinburgh! See below for reviews.

The Skinny:

★ ★ ★ ★ This performance…written by Eric Marlin, would be unnerving at the best of times, but in a world where we see ever-increasing levels of violence and oppression to people who choose to speak out it is captivating, relevant and disconcerting. Lila Rachel Becker’s direction has culminated in a tense, thrilling hour that leaves us strangely hopeful. In a time where we’re challenged by an ever-changing political climate, bad things happen here asks how we might challenge the lies we’re told.

The Mumble:

★ ★ ★ ★ Bold, unexpected and gripping,…‘bad things happen here’ is a brilliantly-acted feast for the imagination. Set in an alternative universe where strict curfews, round-the-clock CCTV and constant police (known as ‘dogs’) suppress speech and thought, bad things happen here follows the lives of multiple nameless individuals as they conform or rebel against the system. There’s no denying that the prevalence of The Handmaid’s Tale, Black Mirror and Stranger Things have made dystopian theatre and film fashionable. Indeed it seems that we the public relish wincing at the nightmarish woes of characters trapped within a cruel alternative universe, forever suffering and never escaping. What makes bad things happen here so brilliant, however, is the way it manages to get all of the dystopian stuff in without losing us as an audience – it cuts so close to the bone that we can’t suspend our disbelief too much, and the show is all the more powerful as a result.



Embedded with complex philosophy, expressed in simple sentences, this show will linger with you for many weeks to come. It is easy to portray modern dystopia, it is harder to dismantle the complex systems that make one. Despite halting fears there is the possibility of escape, protest and revolution; there is unwavering and unyielding hope. Bad Things Happen Here is brilliant for its contradictions. It points to our shared and immediate reality – the dangers of taking action and the even more present danger of doing nothing at all.


The Mumble:

bad things happen here is an examination of nationalism run rampant, and how that intersects with issues of class, misogyny, and language. I’m interested in how nationalistic rhetoric infects our everyday speech, how words lose and gain new meanings during times of political chaos. Trump, and Brexit, thrive on linguistic corruption and lies passed off as truth – who is considered a “citizen,” what we mean by a “nation.” We’re living in a time where politicians like Trump lie outright without consequence. bad things happen here is, in part, an attempt to get underneath these obfuscations.


The original production of this show was in Iowa City - a very Midwestern--which is to say rural--U.S. audience. Our audience in Iowa has different interests and concerns than the audience in a large urban center like Edinburgh. We're excited to bring this piece to a new community and a global audience to see what lands here differently than in the U.S.

We take the "here" of the play's title seriously--it means something different in Edinburgh than it does in Iowa. However, the questions that the play wrestles with around nationalism and fascism are the ones that the U.S., the U.K., and many other countries are dealing with right now. So the play is, for terrible reasons, meaningful to both audiences.

hey, I’m confused!

I clicked on the links and read the full reviews and interviews. Why are these writers calling you The Healthy Oysters? I thought you were Portmanteau!

You’re so right. We went to Fringe under the banner of The Healthy Oyster Collective, a theatre company that Eric co-founded. Portmanteau was created one night in The Blue Blazer pub in Edinburgh, when we agreed that we were so excited about making work together that we ought to come up with a name for ourselves.

we tweet, too

and we take nice pictures