I wasn’t prepared for the level of emotion this production was going to make me feel. I came out of the theatre a little bit drained, I won’t lie, from just how powerful this piece is. One man bringing to life four very different characters, all dealing with the effects of the same tragic event, as well as the difficulties of their own everyday-lives.
Sally Lewis’s script is stunningly intelligent, subtle, and relentlessly real piece of writing. Her sense of language and how language creates and differentiates character in drama is gorgeous and clearly the work of a master in the art. She pumps huge emotional weight into simple lines of dialogue through the pure honesty of her writing, and in doing so confronts issues and ideas that some might rather avoid with an unabashed but gentle instance that we can’t help but give into. It is one of the most incredible scripts I’ve seen in my four years of coming up here and one that only an actor like Neil Gwynne could do justice to.
Gwynne is a performer of near indescribable depth of talent, and for this play delivers what is, I’m fairly certain, the finest acting from a single performer I’ve seen this Fringe. Everything from voice down the most minute bit of body language is so distinct with each character that the audience knows exactly who they’re about to hear from before a new line has even been uttered. This, added to the heart-rending sincerity and emotional punch with which Gwynne portrays these characters, makes for truly beautiful piece of theatre with an untold number of complex dimensions to that beauty. I still find myself a little stunned thinking back on just how incredible his performance was.
The staging choices, though amongst the most simple I’ve seen, are so effective in that simplicity that they, along with most aspects of this production, are up there with the best I’ve seen at the Fringe, and in the theatre generally.
This is amongst my top picks of this year’s Fringe, and another of my ‘must-see’ performances from anyone who’ll be here before the 18th. I wish this show were running for the whole Fringe, the more people that see this production the better. Benet Catty has directed an incredible production is the play that stays with you and, if my intuition is correct, stays with you for a while.