Edinburgh Fringe 2019
Vinnie is an actor who had a career. Unfortunately getting fame too young went to his head and seemingly straight up his nose. The fall from grace leaves him hanging. Hanging around waiting for another break and hanging about likely to fall to temptations again. Sasha, the girlfriend is there, for the moment, to mop his fevered brow and hope that things will improve as she has just become two. Her father seems to hope that two does not become three as Vinnie gets not one but two big breaks at the same time; choice can be a dangerous thing, especially with the penchant for making wrong ones. Vinnie ends up having to clean up his act in the hope that Sasha sees him for what he believes he truly is.
Credit Douglas Robertso
“All the World’s a Stage” is how we begin and the Shakespearean influence continues as the tragedy unfolds. Vinnie is at an audition and as he is such a big character he is played not by one but two actors. The dual sides of his hedonistic character are played beautifully between them as he struggles to cope with rejection as much as potential success. We get a lot of both as we go from that casting, which ends up being successful to the next one which is rescued to the loss of his own self respect from those he feels should be closest to him. Sasha, cannot cope and has to put herself and impending motherhood first, but not before Vinnie has that moment of clarity and begins again.
This has a cracking script at the centre which all the cast manage to run through with confidence and caution; the caution comes from stopping it ending up as self indulgent cliché and the hackneyed howling internal monologue from an actor who just needs to be needed.
There are some great cameos here too with the Dublin taxi driver and the cocaine pal Carlito, doing a masters in psychology – practical by the look of it – particular highlights.
If the script sparkles and the actors shine, the direction matches with the pace kept at a tempo which drives you into their collective arms of creativity.
The theatre arts add their focus as we get the right lights, costume and sound to accompany what we see. There are a few times it gets a little dark – the lighting not the script – and these are times when the thrust structure of the stage is disadvantageous but sight lines aside, all is good.
This is a 21st Century piece that tackles a lot of issues without comment or preaching. We are asked to see and examine with our point of view rather than be guided. The twin approach with Vinny makes this all the more possible as we can see his conflict and it is one that we can return to time and again and learn more. What else would you need in drama!