Edinburgh Fringe 2010
Tense psychological thriller as Adam battles with his alter-ego Mannie. Who wins? And where does Johnny come into this?
Centre stage is a bed. Upstage is a wardrobe that’s seen better days. Downstage right is a desk that screams chaos at you. In fact, the whole atmosphere is one of strong emotions, despair, anger, bewilderment.
Adam is alone in his student bedroom battling with his thoughts. He’s lost the girl of his dreams to his best mate Johnny who, to compound his angst, is sharing the student flat. Johnny wants to set things straight between them. Part of Adam wants to go along with this but he’s got to deal with his drug induced alter-ego, who in this case goes by the name of Mannie (no, don’t ask me why as I didn’t understand either).
Nothing too novel in this sort of concept – paranoid schizophrenic battles with the dark side – but this was a neatly staged variant on the theme with strong performances from author Sam Raffel, Simon Kent and James Adcock. I guess there were two ways of watching this show – one where you held yourself in suspense as you waited to see in which direction the plot was going to twist next or, as this final performance audience chose, looking for any humour, dark, poignant or pithy and just enjoying the piece for what it was – a good story well told.
Adam and Mannie, his alter-ego, worked extremely well together, exchanging rapid fire dialogue and building and releasing the tension between them nicely. It was evident that Adam was a most disturbed individual, clearly in need of urgent psychiatric counselling. Yet the two of them broke the tension with some well-placed humour and the idea of having Mannie emerge from the wardrobe, whilst an oft used trick, still caught the audience nicely by surprise.
The denouement succeeded in being both surreal and, in a way, funny with the audience being left to decide for themselves which side of Adam’s mind won out in the end – the caring individual that clearly lurked beneath the veneer of anger or his darker side. Nice stuff with some uninhibited acting and strong displays of emotion from the two principals.