Edinburgh Fringe 2017
Jesse has attempted suicide not once, nor twice but thrice. Now she is in a hospital that discharges her into the care of Eli. His facility welcomes her as a newbie and she is taken behind a wall to meet an array of characters that try to help her and cage her apart from Bobby who tries to free her. Inevitably they get caught and it ends with Jesse having attempted suicide, not once, nor twice…
The premise form the Company is that Cult-Ure is about the fantasy of freedom, the danger of deception and the mystery of truth. Lofty ambitions and high ideals they may be but we do get a sense that these are safe in the hands of tis young company.
Playwright Jack Stacey, who also gives us a wholly believable and engaging Bobby, manages to weave enough intrigue throughout this piece that you are left with the feeling that it has been deftly delivered. He has managed to develop scenes that entice you into their midst and work on your perceptions in such a way that you are left understanding the whole without ever really knowing to where it shall send you next.
The direction, by Charlie Chambers is very good. You get the sense that this has a collegiate feel to it though someone always needs to take a firm grip on things and here it feels we have a very secure handle on its theatricality.
In such a small and intimate venue there are characters acting as guards that reminded me a great deal of Anthony Neilson’s Insecurity Guards, giving menace with a degree of softness that belie their role. The mysterious Eli does waft in and out of the stage whilst Bobby as narrator does enough to keep us up with the plot. Overall the standard of acting is wholly convincing. This is again a very real compliment to such a young company tackling such a huge canvass so well and theatrically.
Theatre arts are generally well employed and therefore we get a sense of the oppression in and out of Jesse’s mind whilst also being entertained with a minimalistic set and lighting that allows the piece to breathe. The forays into the audience are good and often comically employed to allow some lightness onto the production.
Overall this has a very deft feel, the issues being contemporary, the approach to their exploration and illumination is equally contemporary. This is a very well handled piece of theatre that knows how to use theatre to great effect and I can but hope that this company stay together and explore things theatrically further.