Edinburgh Fringe 2015
Times have changed. Back then, they would turn their back on you if you told the truth. Rita and Angie have been best friends for more than 60 years. Together, they’ve experienced every milestone, every setback. Now, as Rita says goodbye to her lifelong companion, a surprising journey of self-discovery unfolds: there’s a fine line between following your desires and conforming to expectations. From Ronnie Dorsey, writer of the critically acclaimed Of Sound Mind, comes the heart-warming story of one woman’s devotion, loyalty and a love which transcends all else.
Sometimes at the Fringe, among the clamour and the noise, the proverbial hustle and bustle, we yearn for something quiet, a moment of calm away from the storm. It’s not always easy to find such a place with so many shows vying for your attention and patronage, but the seeking out of this production is definitely worth the uphill journey to the iconic Assembly Hall. It’s true, of course, that there’s no shortage of solo shows at Edinburgh Fringe, but this is one that stands out in its simplicity and honesty and moving delivery.
Previous Fringe First Award winner Ronnie Dorsey brings a wonderful story of love, family, intimacy and loss which is beautifully performed by Judith Paris. The tale of two women, friends since childhood, growing up, growing apart, and coming together again. The setting is simple, a family home. A table and chairs fill the intimate stage, while a standard lamp watches over it all from the sidelines. Dorsey and Paris expertly integrate these items throughout the show imbuing them with life as characters to interact with and audience to talk to. It’s a nice device although at times it can be a little distracting, especially in such a confined performance space. The show could certainly have inhabited a larger home and seems a little cramped it its current locale. Director Mark Leipacher does finds some lovely moments though and Paris’ hits some interesting notes especially in the recounting of her journey of discovery later in life.
There’s no doubt that this endearing and enchanting tale will tug at the heartstrings of anyone who sees it, but I found myself at times hankering for more. I wished for more inclusion, and less narration. The restraint here does not serve to attract us but to distance us somewhat and the more dramatic moments seemed to suffer from a sense of predictability. We live in changing times and perhaps this story is a tribute to times past, honouring the history of the characters, but I wanted to delve beneath the surface of the lady behind the story, or at least have the feeling that there is something more untold being revealed.
As the popular song goes, “There’s a fine fine line between a lover and a friend. There’s a fine fine line between reality and pretend. And you never know ’til you reach the top if it was worth the uphill climb.” This is a fine fine time to make the uphill climb, it’s certainly no waste of anyone’s time.