Edinburgh Fringe 2019
Sean lives alone. One night he meets Lisa and he invites her home. They both have no reason to be out and their oddness is what binds them. She believes she is Norwegian, whilst he is an ex con who has not been long out of prison. They both have very clear vulnerabilities as she looks to be held and he looks to be untouched. By the end they find solace in each other and that draws a conclusion to their time together.
Originally a Traverse Theatre piece, David Grieg’s writing shines here. It shows an acute sense of the two characters who do not fit any type of stereotype apart from the unloved and lonely. The awkwardness for Sean is drawn beautifully where he wants to be hospitable but wants to be left alone. The counterpoint to that is Lisa who has a very clear need to be needed and wants Sean to be the one who needs her most. When they fall out and she is the one to leave the sense of awkwardness is heightened to heartbreak. That they resolve it through make believe or making believe is subtly underpinned by their dancing cheek to cheek to A-Ha.
Daniel Beaver as Sean has a true deep affinity to his character. He works the lines well but off line he has a presence that truly understands that he needs to inhabit a man who cannot even inhabit himself. Esther Gilvray acutely senses the pitfalls and silences and fills them with enough of a deft and oddball challenge that shows she has the relationship in her head and at her fingers. It is a two hander that works really well because of the actors and their relationship supporting the relationship between their characters.
The set is functional, the theatre arts similarly so. It does not require swinging from the lampshades and the functional use of a dimmer is enough. The decision to allow the tinny sound of the CD player to play out was very much in keeping with the piece.
Even more inspiring is that this is billed as an amateur production. Both actors show great skill and the direction, not flawless but certainly managing to competently and creatively create a believable space for the characters to develop, gives us confidence that somewhere, somehow that spirit of the Fringe still continues on and we should be exceptionally proud that it does.