Leave a Message (3 stars)

This article is from 2019

Leave a Message

credit: Ali Wright

Heading into the darker places with Ed and his memories

Leave A Message details an afternoon in the life of Ed – a self-professed millennial who is dealing with the death of his alcoholic father whom he has not seen in many years. Ed and his friend Sarah walk into his father's bedsit where everything from old receipts to empty alcohol bottles litter the space.

Ed must face up to his memories – or lack thereof – of his father Nicholas as he sorts through his possessions. Ed is struggling with the loss on multiple levels and this is made clear by his timorous behaviour in carefully plotted solo moments during which he begins to emotionally spiral on stage.

The play triumphantly opens up a window into the lives of others with a storyline that straddles the alien and the familiar. Snapshot dreamlike sequences reveal Ed's own inhibitions. As lights flicker and a record plays, Ed picks up a bottle and fumbles about the room drunkenly. The parallels between him and his father are cleverly drawn out, asking the viewer to take a moment to dissect their significance.

Voicemail messages are an essential tool for this piece. A voicemail from Stephen's former escort Linda is heard and she is invited to the scene. This well-crafted character contrasts greatly with the meek, self-loathing protagonist and the easily overlookable – but no less charming – Sarah. She is sharp-witted, brutally honest and quick to reject Ed's ignorant claims about his father.

Linda calls out Ed's lack of commitment and describes Nicholas as a smart, charming man encompassed by disease; not a dysfunctional alcoholic who abandoned his son. Poignant dialogue between the two gives a cathartic feel to this pivotal scene. The play's final moment goes on to present a whopping cliffhanger as the stage turns black; the play ends at the crux of a storyline that begs to be continued.

Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose, until 25 Aug, 2pm, £9 (£8).

Leave a Message

  • 3 stars

Jessica Rose McVay Productions and Bad Thursday Two friends, Ed and Sarah, travel to the small squalid bedsit where Ed's father passed away a few days earlier. As they wade through the debris, the fragments of one lost life begin to coalesce, just as another starts to show signs of cracking. Will we be remembered for…