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Edinburgh Fringe 2012

Acts of Contrition

Slippery Rock Theatre

Genre: Drama


theSPACE@ Surgeons Hall


Low Down

A number of set pieces that looks dramatically in a number of ways in which we apologise. Each episode comes without explanation except the minimal amount of narrative so you need to work, but it’s worth it.


There are a number of episodes that include: The tangled tango of apology we delve through an alter ego and the ego, couples counselling, dealing with a young child, being picked up in a gym, being in bed with your partner, the phone call in the last few minutes of your life, the suicide pact between son and father, prison and then the Pearly gates. Or is it?

Patricia Montley’s script is well observed though there is nothing particularly profound and the situations would probably be within the top ten places you would expect some kind of apology so I was perhaps looking for more inventive ways of apologising. The first piece with the Tango set a standard and some of the other pieces did not achieve such a heady height. The performances are however very strong and well directed by Laura Smiley. I loved the last few minutes on a plane whilst also enjoyed the prison scene as it did not end in a clichéd format.
The staging was essentially simplistic – a few boxes and a duvet or two – which made you focus your attention on the performances which was no bad thing. What is did not realise was how many songs about being sorry there actually are! Production values are high and though I felt some of the pieces did not hit the heights that the first did or there were variable pieces of subject matter the performers were on form.
As a piece of new writing it showcased the performer’s ability within a tight format whilst also giving us a fairly well observed new piece of writing. There was little opportunity within the script and this may be a flaw to expand upon each apology but the performers had plenty to give. The physicality in the tango, the ego and alter ego was accompanied by the prison scene and the bed scene as being my favorites as vignettes that said something. The rest were pieces that I was looking for more to come from their performances.
As a performance piece this may be tucked away somewhere and forgotten about but the form and the nature of the piece should be kept on a shelf somewhere and returned to regularly. It not only worked but worked extremely well and should be an example of why new writing and devised drama ought to be the heart beat of any Fringe.