REVIEW – Beneath the Dark

*****

By Isabella Fraser

Set in the post-war America of 1947, this play is a four-hander centred on a woman who is unhappy with her life and looking for something – anything – to change it.

The stage at Augustine’s is well used, packed with props and furniture, but effectively split to show three separate locations. The size of the stage lends itself to being used in such a way, unusual for the Fringe, where many venues provide spaces that are a challenge for larger pieces.

The lighting and sound are productively used and not overplayed. However, the pacing of the play itself is very slow and continues at a leisurely pace throughout the production. This means that the story feels too drawn out with the result that by the end the audience were fidgeting in their seats.

The strongest performers are lead Ashley Bryant and supporting actor Rachel Salisbury. However, Bryant too comes across as performing at a slow pace, with little variation in tone and action, which makes it challenging to maintain interest to the end.

There were some loose ends that were not tied up, which may have been to allow a twist in the tale at the end. Director and writer Ada Mansouri has made a good start with this drama, but more light and shade in the storyline, combined with energy in the direction, would have allowed a more cohesive production.

Last performance is 9 August at 13.10 in the Studio at Paradise in Augustine’s. Running time is 1 hour, 25 mins.

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