Edinburgh Fringe 2017
Grace and Lorna are best friends. Like all best friends that friendship is tested as they grow up and become adults. One being the more promiscuous and the other the more intellectual and gobby. They don’t end up being a cliché of their dreams but swap their pathways as they come across tragedy in equal measure in their lives and it changes them and their relationship for good.
Three actors perform for us the intermingling story of the two friends. Sally Messham and Katie Elin-Salt weave their way through a complex tale that is made simple in the telling thanks to their craft and application. A special mention must be made for Hasan Dixon who manages to be boyfriends to both, brother of one and father to the other in amongst many other roles, without which this would have been standard fare.
It is this ability to weave in between the stories that gives the piece strength whilst it is also the weaving between that makes it watchable. We may start when they are kids to set it up but we are then off to the drama and go from adulthood back to childhood and then on to another phase with ease. Never confusing or leaving us behind it skilfully manages to keep us onboard whilst also intriguing in equal measure.
It was cleverly plotted with themes dropped in and out with the humour kept back to allow the characterisation and the empathy for both Lorna and Grace to develop. This was script writing at its most impressive. The acting allowed the words to speak the story and this gave me the feel of a writer’s theatre able to deliver the poignancy and joy of simply telling the tale.
The performances of each were cracking and the relationship and strong bond between Lorna and Grace was never in doubt – despite much to trouble and test it. Theatre in the round was exemplified by this ability to switch between the characters and phases of their loves, making use of the nooks and crannies presented to them.
The theatre arts were very effectively used with both lighting and sound marking transitions. The direction was crisp and light and particularly effective as there was little, if any, repetition. Using steps and entrances to provide intimacy, the centre of the stage to illuminate the conflicts, we got no cheap laughs but plenty of wonderfully directed set pieces.
The final section where we get one more tragedy and then taken right back to before their births was evidence again of a boldness in the themes of these diverse relationships.
It made for a fantastic piece of theatre which reminds us of the simple art of a story well told.