Edinburgh Fringe 2019
“Three brothers go to confession, each admitting sins against the same woman. Secrets are revealed and family loyalty is tested in this dark drama about lust, guilt, jealousy and deceit.”
What happens when you scratch the surface of the lives of ordinary people? Chances are there will be foibles and issues that are unseen on the outside. Relationships and more reveal themselves in this fascinating original dramatic play co-written by Helen Ackrill and Stu Jackson and directed by Jackson. Jackson also joins four other actors onstage and each of them plays a character with specific voice, dialogue, and demeanor.
Fiona, a young woman meets different people in her work setting and does her job well. She is an ordinary person in an ordinary job, with her own hopes, dreams and ambitions. One day, Alec, a nerdy young man befriends Fiona, which starts an intricate domino effect on people.
Ryan, a scruffy guy with an attitude is on the scene hanging out and Michael, a bustling grey suited businessman arrives in the story.
A priest played by Jackson hears confessions, he is stalwart and, it seems, popular. This device provides a fascinating situation, because he knows everyone’s secrets but cannot comment or give advice on what he hears, other than to prescribe praying.
The script is tightly crafted with several short scenes that are just right in terms of dialogue and storyline, keeping the plot moving along nicely. All the action happens in a small stage space, which is used very well to become many places, work, home, confessional, and a car, at least.
Jackson’s calm monolithic Priest stays onstage for almost the first half of the play, his dialogue is minimal and his melodic voice and physical stillness with subtle creases of the forehead and neutral but knowing eyes are all very effective. Complicity builds between the priest and the audience as we watch how he reacts.
Each character is multi-dimensional and reacts to each other with authenticity. Max Hallam’s Alec is fighting his inner demons and without giving spoilers the situation is not only relatable but also pivotal to the play. Hallam wears a grey cardigan and fully becomes his character physically, lacking confidence and being awkward in stance and posture.
Hollie Wade plays Fiona, who is confident and vulnerable. Wade is very believable as this young woman, especially in her interactions and reactions to the other characters and her emotional arc is so well acted and true.
Actor Ryan Gilks’ Ryan is outspoken and tends to express emotion outwardly. Gilks does a wonderful job finding the edges and inner core of the character and shows emotional depth under the hard exterior.
Michael played by Steve Cowley is complex and real in his anger and has a lot of things going on in his life. Cowley Goes to the depths of his character on an emotional roller coaster.
Another effective aspect of the play is how the story and dialogue is never over explained, sometimes brief scenes happen in silence or one or two words, which allows the audience to use their imagination. These brief moments are so effective.
This company has produced a realistic, poignant, creative play with excellent elements of storytelling, character development and acting. Highly Recommended!