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Edinburgh Fringe 2019

The Words Are There

Ronan Dempsey from Nth Degree Productions

Genre: New Writing, Physical Theatre

Venue: theSpace @ Surgeons Hall


Low Down

“Mick awaits Trish. He stands in his little seaside flat in oh-so-dreamy Bettystown, Ireland: like that little town in Murder She Wrote. Life has left Mick speechless, but in his silence there lies a story. Amidst childhood falsehoods and fragmented memories, he struggles to find the words for a very important day. A compelling and timely new piece of comic/tragic physical theatre delving into a lesser learned side of domestic abuse.”


A slight young man, Mick prepares for a party or a celebration. He seems nervous, of a sweet disposition and through silent physical storytelling he meets Trish, a young woman, for the first time. Recorded voiceover of Mick’s dialogue with Trish plays while Mick interacts with her.

Ronen Dempsey from Nth Degree Productions performs this new play and is Mick. Mick is intense and through Dempsey’s ingenuity, introduces us to Trish, as they get to know each other.

The stage, Mick’s flat, is strewn with a few well-chosen everyday objects that become incorporated into the storytelling. It is difficult at this point to avoid giving some details about who the characters are and how the play develops. However, suffice it to say that Mick creates the character of Trish in front of us with objects as he delves headfirst into his first meeting through recorded dialogue between them.

Dempsey has created a sensitively drawn character in Mick and is committed to portraying him authentically.  The choice to have Mick and Trish perform in silence through emotive body language is not only fascinating, but also appropriately prescient. Mick has experienced things in his past and Trish, brings out different dimensions of both of their personalities.

The story, Dempsey’s total immersion into his character and the situation that unfolds between Mick and Trish, is quite believable and very compelling, although shown in unexpected detail. Voiceover dialogue between the two is seamless and after a while the complicity of the audience – knowing what we know and what we see – is fleshed out by a combination of awkwardness, tenderness and familiarity.

Enacting activities through gestures and mime is effective, although small props, such as a pair of gloves take a little too long to put on, but will improve during the run of the show.

Imaginative and complex sound design, with well-coordinated cues, integrate sound effects, dialogue, loud dance music and beautiful melodic music, adding to the atmosphere and visceral nature of each scene.

Mick is a humble fellow of modest means with aspirations and his heart is wide open. A less discussed hard-hitting aspect of abuse is told creatively with impact. This is a fascinating new play – provocatively told through physical acting – with humour, pathos and a poignant denouement that will spin your head around!