Edinburgh Fringe 2014
Alice is dying. Michael is dreaming. Between them they meet in a world before she is gone to remember, battle to save their daughter and try and live their last.
Alice wakes up in this circular patch of grass. Michael arrives and between them we are introduced to Alice almost being dead whilst Michael knows he is just dreaming. He has been in and out of the hospital all day visiting Alice. Their daughter has also been injured and we see how they met, their pregnancies transpired – one successful – and their relationship developed despite the Vienetta. It all ends with the end.
This is one of the most fascinating pieces of theatre I have seen for some time. The quality of both the writing and performances are best illustrated through Alice and Michael meeting. Without a shadow of a doubt the intimate nature and acutely observed awkwardness between these two characters will live long in the mind as they travelled by train. It was both an incredible event and one in which the audience found themselves in stunned silence. It worked beautifully.
The rest of it was just as good as we saw their relationship blossom until it ended in a car crash that gave us pathos and poignancy. The use of a fairly simplistic set was effective but the confines of that circle worked as a visual metaphor to both characters being unable to escape their reality. The set, a patch of grass with a jug and a Vienetta offset to either side was the only part of this I didn’t much like. In something that was so well judged it was like an afterthought. I just would have had them elsewhere or found another vehicle for the section.
Lighting and soundscape were also quality additions. Both were highly effective and added to the theatricality of what was already a great production.
Overall this production works well. The performances from such a young company are way beyond their years as they manage to maintain the fine line between pathos and comedy. It is this finely and acutely observed performance that can elevate the ideals within the text to another level. This is Living managed that. The idea may have started as a 7 minute theatre piece for University but it has grown into a fully fledged and mature drama dealing with a very difficult subject in a very inventive manner. Liam Borrett’s tutor should be asked to set his next task as soon as practicably possible.