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Edinburgh Fringe 2016

Criminology 303

Tangent Theatre Company

Genre: Drama, New Writing, Theatre

Venue: Venue 13


Low Down

We are introduced to a retired Detective Inspector who is taking us through one case relating to the psychological perspective of offending when another pops into the screen, her psyche and the stage. It is one that was never solved and the haunting resonance of the story finds an outlet in flashback and an effectively haunting half hour in the company of the lecture that was never meant to be delivered.


Jilly Bond and Julian Gartside do a very clever thing. They scare me. It is late on a summer’s evening and the lights have appeared in the street, it is a long walk to my next venue and this is a ghost story. With the structure of a lecture we get the laptop breaking down, the technology being infected by something more than a virus and the detective taking us into a case that was the only one she never solved. It is her reflections of what happened coupled with the video onscreen and then cemented by the bangs, shudders and a creepy tech guy – like they don’t exist – that takes you onto the edge of a seat.

This is assured theatre that may be short but Beckett never really liked a second act did he? It works and that is all that matters. Both Bond and Gartside are exceptionally good at this type of theatre. There are certainly many things that can be added onto this but there is no taking away from the fact that a fairly difficult idea to sell to your audience is done particularly well. Of course the scenes between them are better than the lecture but we do understand just how terrifying failure is when it involves the loss of a child.

Technically the video work adds so much to this and whilst we can understand the frustrations felt by people who have had laptop or technical failure before the fact that the laptop has a mind of its own starts to develop a sense of the macabre and mysterious. The lantern, the video and the strange behaviour of the Laird add to that in such a way that I got to my next venue in plenty of time. I have much to thank them for – not least a tremendous piece of theatre.