1300 (1400) Until 30th August @ Pleasance Courtyard
By Emily P
A man is working on his boat when he is distracted by a 15 year old girl. She reminds him of someone. They talk and it is revealed that Clio is the daughter of Tom’s teenage fling Grace. There is an added element of tension to their strange meeting in the form of Clio’s much older friend John who, we learn, was instrumental in supporting her search for Tom.
The staging is evocative and beautiful with the quay, Tom’s boat and the seaside atmosphere all suggested in the simple design. A light box suspended as a backdrop provides the changing sky of the coast effectively; regrettably not all the action takes place there – some being in form of flashback to Clio and John’s meeting and journey to Tom’s quay.
The main problem with this well performed and designed production is the script. There are too many undeveloped ideas and disconnected dialogues to bring anything but a confused perspective on what are interesting themes. The conflict of trust, protection and need in human relationships is a complicated matter and whilst the writer has embraced that complexity he has not brought any strong voice or understanding of any of the contributing aspects. This leaves the audience without emotional connection to the players as the verbal interaction contains little real insight into any of the characters’ motives. The story too, plods along with only a couple of weak revelations which fail to bring anymore drama to the scenario than the initial 5 minutes did.
The acting is mostly very good – although Clio’s Belfast accent proves a bit of a struggle for the actor and so leaves her speeches a bit monotone. The casting of the character of John with a younger actor is problematic. Using realism to explore pseudo-paedophilia demands that the visual ages of the characters are in keeping with the script, and the audience were confused for a while until the dialogue spelt it out.
If the narrative knew what else it wanted to achieve beyond the simple presentation of the action there would be potential in the production to accomplish it. But unfortunately, the result is far from being a valuable contribution to the discourse on life and love.