Edinburgh Fringe 2010
Three lives entwined in love, sex, puesdo-intellectual conversations and downright selfish destructiveness. They appear to care about little apart from themselves and their own immediate pleasures, which can make it tough for the audience to care about any one of them. Which may or may not be an accident ..
‘I don’t know what binds us’, one character complains bitterly during this offering from Inside Intelligence. Even if we ignore the linguistic pun, it’s clear that the audience is meant to infer that it is, in fact, the character of Link that, well, links them all, and not always for the best. These three people, exploring an ‘insatiable appetite to life’ are magnets for each other: compelled to attract and repel each other in equal measure.
It’s a oddly muted affair, the clear tensions and anger contained within each of three main character’s lives not so much bubbling beneath the surface but held deep underneath until there’s danger of drowning. It means that there’s no weight in the waiting – whenever a character procrastinates before making a bad decision – which happens often enough for that to be one of the major themes of the piece – there’s not enough delay, no moment of tension: the dialogue with which they protest seems to be only a token effort. If we could believe that was a trait of the characters – that they believed their bad decisions to be inevitable, then it would be acceptable, but it seems not to be. The performances are all fine, but the script and direction is somewhat suffocating, running the real risk of suffocating any level of colour and shade. Not that it’s always deathly: this remoteness, blended in with the cyclone of Alpha male aggression, gives the impression of Pinter by way of Irvine Welsh.
While these characters are addicted – at least eventually – to telling the truth, they’re not so hot on considering the consequences of their actions. They seem to be only interested in their own outcomes, not caring what happens to others afterwards. This isn’t by definition a bad thing – Patrick Marber depicts a similar love triangle in Closer – but, like that play, it makes all three of the characters difficult to like.
However, the piece succeeds more when allowed time and space to breathe, for instance during an extended courtroom sequence in which we’re able to see the fragility under a young girl’s defiant mask, and quite the best scene is when a drunken Susie speaks brokenly of an abortion.
Less a gorgeous accident, more a genuinely curious incident.