Edinburgh Fringe 2017
Four complete strangers somewhere. The whole experience is a little daunting for them as they discuss their innermost feelings whilst exploding, becoming introverted and ultimately seeking solution rather than salvation.
This is a very good rendition of Sarah Kane’s master piece. All of Kane’s work suffers from not having a narrative that can makes a director’s life easy or more difficult. It does, however free actors from having to take any form of convention on board when performing. This performance by The Pembroke Players manages to fuse the lack of structure successfully with a feeling of overall desperation which permeates the whole. In small sequences, there are moments of abject clarity whilst in others it appears that blame is being cast hoping for a catch.
The actors have taken on the theatricality of Kane’s piece with a degree of aplomb which belies their youthfulness and the director must take plaudits for bringing this to the stage in such an accomplished manner. Kane is not easy but when you accept that all makes sense, just not all at the one time, the transition from the page to the visual becomes that much easier.
With lighting in particular used to highlight and low light things the set which has the feel of an institutionalised waiting room allows this to become a fascinating insight and terrifying comment on the state of mental health and their services today – or indeed any day. It’s hard to believe that this is nearly 20 years old but being drawn to Kane’s work is still quite a radical thing to be.
The major problem I had was the space as the piece needs to breathe and in such a claustrophobic space it can be difficult to allow that to happen. Whilst much of the narrative is introspection, often it needs to walk the length of itself to express all of those emotions. That was just not possible here as all 4 characters needed their own space and needed to expand our minds laterally.
And so this was a bold move and one that was not that bad a choice though with a bigger venue it would have managed to get the themes over more successfully. As a youthful company though, all credit for what will not disappoint if you find it!