Edinburgh Fringe 2012
" Featuring award-winning writers and theatre-makers Leo Butler, Pamela Carter and Kefi Chadwick and directed by Donnacadh O’Briain, Peep is a show for anyone interested in sex, who wants to watch, but not be seen, who likes sitting in the dark and letting everyone else do the work."
Starring Bella Heesom and Ifan Meredith as a post-natal couple coming to grips with having lost touch with each other, Kefi Chadwick’s twenty minuter is one of three that form part of "Peep", a series ofplays set in aunique performance space – a box theatre where the audience sit in peep show booths, looking in, looking on.
Donnacadh O’Briain has directed the piece in a direct way and the dialogue is drama that sits just slightly beyond naturalism.
We are conducted to thepeep shpw booths Headphones are there and we are invited to put them on and the sound of techno-lounge agreets us with the background wash of sex, pleasure, porn.
Two partners in a bedroom, white walls, a bed – and I can’t tell you a thing more without this being a spoiler review.
Kefi Chadwick has written a comedy dialogue that feels rather English but not in bad way. It’s well observed writing and tackles an angle on sex in relationships that affects many people and yet hasn’t been much explored at the Fringe.
The booths and the staging in a box venue achieves a strong intimacy and creates a sense of closeness and immediacy as the piece unfolds. The dialogue is paced well and the two characters win our interest and sympathy.
This is a glimpse into a life that could be any of us and it’s successful because of the tender writing. Chadwick finds depth with an impressive quickness of pen and there’s a micro exploration of jealousy that’s a genius bit of writing – not a word wasted and yet a powerful issue raised and offered within a few lines.
Chadwick’s writing manages to inform, entertain and affect all at the same time. This would all work in a standard theatre space but something is added by the venue here. We are aware of others – audience – alongside and opposite, isolated in their own voyeurism, yet we can also hear their laughter. Alone together – this creates a dual theatre experience of both inner and shared watching.
I feel the actors could go even further in, in terms of subtlety in reactions, and in making the dialogue even more naturally impactful. They are very good but they could lift it even higher. And the woman doesn’t come across as very tired, given her claims to be.
This is mostly believable theatre, set naturalistically inside the space and we are not an a usual theatre setting. This discord works in an interesting way, creating a greater sense of responsibility to look properly as we are so clearly being labelled as onlookers.
There were other twenty minuters I didn’t get to see so this is just a review of the first one. On the basis of this one, "Sex Life" by Kefi Chadwick, I’d recommend them all.