Edinburgh Fringe 2019
We begin with the voice over of a police interview and carer, Sue, in the spotlight. From there she returns, through flashback, to the domesticity of caring for a family of father who has lost mother, and daughter who lost her husband, apparently, in a car accident. Nothing though, is what it seems. In an hour, their onions are peeled and the reason for Sue’s appearance at a police interview becomes obvious but for what reason, and for whom is less so.
There is a lot in the script to like. Individual lines written from experience made the most impact including the idea of yuppies having morphed into millennials which tickled me. It is however the structure where the real value is evident. There are hints, nods and quite a few blind bats, followed by red herrings as it intrigues and keeps you interested.
Part of the reason for that is the performances from a group of three very able actors. All three would not claim to be in their first flush of creativity and it is comforting to see that innovation and radicalism is not being wholly wasted upon the young. There is a real sense of ensemble acting and when there are stumbles, you feel that it may just have been practiced that way.
Part of the strength in their characterisations comes in the solo pieces in the spotlight. All three shine when the light is placed upon them and their believable vulnerability is a beacon within the text.
The direction has been good, though some of the entrances and exits seem tricky with the table in particular being a bit of an obstacle, once they arrive. Whilst it can be difficult in the Fringe to absolutely know what your venue shall feel like, you get dimensions and perhaps something less awkward onstage would have helped.
The ending could also do with a snap and silence rather than a fade as I saw it. The shock of who has “slept in” as we say in some parts of Scotland, is worthy of a slightly better finale.
Costumes were thoroughly appropriate and the other theatre arts employed enhanced the overall feel of a real play in the hands of a very good cast.
It’s a real play with great authenticity at its heart. You get the feeling that with their combined experience and knowledge that is clear onstage, they have taken full advantage of an opportunity to deliver a message we all should hold onto as we advance into our elder years and hold onto our elders, and not so elderly.