Edinburgh Fringe 2017
“Two women. A fractured friendship. A car full of boxes and a message from a dead friend. An unexpected Nordic road trip sees two estranged friends thrown together on a tense journey from London to Oslo. The further Becky and Nat get from home, the closer they come to confronting the demons of their shared past. Spliced through with humour, slick physicality, an original contemporary soundtrack and video projection.”
Becky and Nat go on a road trip. They haven’t seen each other for a while and are not exactly on good terms; however, they are driving from England to Norway. Things in the past ruptured their friendship, which used to be close. It happens with best friends, and it takes a lot to turn things around, and sometimes never happens. The Drive is written, directed and performed by Tamsin Fessey and Lynne Forbes. They play contrasting characters – one is a career woman, the other not such a high flyer – and set off for the long journey starting with awkward small talk, often about memories.
The set designed by Yoon Bae is very effective; two seats set up on a platform become the front seat of the car with a couple of other car parts put to various excellent uses. It’s inventive how they use the large set, it multi tasks and fits well in the small stage space, which helps to create an intimacy for the situation and creates the close quarters of the front seat of a car. This leaves little extra room in the stage space but it works well for this show. Creative use of video and sound effects evoke the atmosphere and progress of the journey, with bird sounds and other effects.
Storytelling and pacing of this new play flow authentically, it is intriguing, sincere and never over sentimental, given the dramatic arc. The story is told through dialogue to each other, speaking directly to the audience, imaginative imagery and physical acting. The two deftly transform their set while narrating seamlessly more than once. Several times they perform short movement motifs, abstract and emotive in complete sync with each other to express their thoughts, feelings, and memories. These are the strongest moments of the play, and more movement and physical storytelling could take the show to another level. At one point their dialogue takes us out of the play, which is a bit unclear why, and the play within a play concept could benefit from minor honing.
Each actor has different reactions and opinions, which is an interesting dynamic of the characters and their friendship. They also have their own search for the truth about past events, thus their interpretation of memories is also different. The acting is effective and movement quality is excellent, plus the final denouement of this fascinating play is impactful. Fast and neat, dramatic, moving and humorous!