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Edinburgh Fringe 2016

5 out of 10 Men

Deep Diving Ensemble

Genre: New Writing, Physical Theatre, Theatre

Venue: theSpace on Niddry St


Low Down

Theatre is a powerful tool and this new play explores how men deal with – or choose not to deal with – issues and influences in their lives. It is powerful and hard hitting, engaging and entertaining. Everyone – teen to adult – should see this play!


Theatre is a powerful tool and 5 out of 10 Men proves it. This is a highly recommended new play exploring how men deal with – or choose not to deal with – issues and influences in their lives. After watching for several minutes, this viewer thought that this play should be seen by all teenagers, then a few minutes later…all men, all women, parents…and, well by everyone!

The subjects included in the play are hard hitting, yet are treated in a very effective, creative way through fine crafting and physical theatre by Roland Reynolds, writer, director and producer, with Duncan Alldridge, creator, producer & movement director. While there are some moments of angst, of course, there is humour, too. In fact, this is a show where we can enjoy the drama, as well as become engaged in the issues and be entertained. Theatre like this provides opportunities for the audience members to think about what they saw for several hours or days afterwards, and perhaps understand or have new points of view. Enlightenment and entertainment through theatre, wonderful!

Fragen Theatre Company and Deep Diving ensemble are co producing this production, which both focus on social issues. They have found alarming statistics about male suicide in the UK and spent almost a year researching and developing the play. A diverse ensemble of five actors Kwesi Davies, Ana Brothers, Ivy Corbin, Carlton James, Duncan Alldridge – all excellent – perform emotional dramatic scenes with well-defined physical action.

The language in the play is poetic at times, harsh at others, but always justified and is well written. The physical acting tells most of the story and the text is carefully integrated to enhance the narrative and not to take it over as in a lecture. This creative choice and the outstanding ensemble’s ability results in an excellent piece of work that is relatable to all and surprising, too. The storytelling is never predictable as the actors switch characters and theatrical styles, often addressing the audience directly.

Characters talk about experiences and thoughts that are perceived as weak via a fast paced active game that is very revealing, fun and moving. “Tell us about your life!” one says, another “What is your relationship with women?” “Symptoms of depression?” “Loneliness?” These topics can be uncomfortable to discuss, but the dynamics of the game and short linked character driven scenes are very engaging and yield rich results theatrically.

Performing on a large square stage, like an extended boxing ring without the ropes, at the eye level of the audience is perfect for this play. The actors and their characters spar back and forth vocally and physically in a fascinating ever changing mise en scène, while offering an intimacy that is vital for this play, for both the actors and the audience.