Passengers (4 stars)

This article is from 2019


credit: Garth Knight

Confronting trauma as a team

Max, the protagonist of acclaimed writer Kid Redstone's Passengers, never appears on stage. Instead, his story is told through three competing voices inside his head, each fighting for supremacy over Max's mind and actions and pulling the audience into the struggle. It might sound a bit like the premise of the film Inside Out, but as the play unfolds, it becomes increasingly clear that this is not mere storytelling flair: rather, Passengers is a daring confrontation of identity, mental health and the mind's reaction to trauma.

Redstone marries gut-punching, hilarious writing with claustrophobic staging and intense physicality: the three personalities alternately move seamlessly together or clash angrily in between the bars of the structure they are trapped in, strikingly visualising both the endurance and frustration of psychological disorders and traumatic recovery. Although there are occasional hesitations – toxic masculinity and its legacy of violence hover over the entire play but are never fully unpacked – Passengers succeeds in deconstructing the cyclical, chaotic and very human nature of mental illness.

Performed with energy, wit, and compassion, Passengers is a refreshing and intensely personal piece of theatre that sheds a light on those voices that have long been kept in the dark.

Summerhall, until 25 Aug (not 12, 19), 2.30pm, £10 (£8).


  • 4 stars

A semi-autobiographical dark comedy about the mind.