WEDNESDAY: Balloon Head Productions with Shred Productions: The Vault (Venue 29): 09 – 30 Aug 2010: 2135 hrs
0131 510 0022 www.edfringe.com
Running time: 55 minutes no interval
Review: Mark Courtice 25th August 2010
Not so much Horror-comedy as Horror
The general view in Edinburgh this summer appears to be that Tim Crouch’s The Author at The Traverse is the hardest show to watch at the Fringe. But it has nothing on this. In a sweaty arches space a vicious little tale of rape and murder is acted out in very explicit detail. It is a very, very difficult show to watch.
It also stands up better than one might think to comparisons with Crouch’s hot-ticket show. It’s as convincingly acted, it is more honest in intent, lacking Crouch’s queasy morality.
Here, Rose comes to, finding herself tied to a bed, alongside another kidnap victim – a stranger. Bustling kidnapper Curtis offers food but no comfort. For Rose who has been a victim before this is almost unbearable. From these beginnings a twisted tale unfolds.
Ian Winterton’s script is tightly written, delivers a coherent plot, and believable characters. There are moments of bleak humour, but it’s less the horror-comedy the producers describe it as, more horrible.
There are nicely pitched performances from all three of the cast, but particularly good are Ruth Middleton who plays Rose as a victim, but not helpless, and from Simon D Bates as Curtis whose horrible fantasies come from a palpably true sense of inadequacy and rage.
In Crouch’s show the audience is constantly asked if it’s all right to continue (if we said no there would be no show). Here we all want the inevitable not to happen, but it surely does. This sort of theatre doesn’t lend distance, making the unbearable bearable; it piles on the agony giving us an unflinching glimpse into some people’s hell.
Rose Ruth Middleton
Curtis Simon D Bates
Daniel Barry Graham-Smith
Director Trevor MacFarlane