David Leddy's latest play has an interesting concept but fails to deliver at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
This article is from 2014.
David Leddy's new play is based on an intriguing conceit: four actors – different ones each night – take to the stage to read from a script they have never seen before. They are judges at a UN war tribunal, reading transcripts from witnesses involved in a complex case concerning the death of an African war lord, the rise in power of his wife and the rape of one of his staff.
The unusual format suggests that the hour that follows may well throw up some surprises for both the actors and the audience. Unfortunately Horizontal Collaboration never delivers on its premise and what unfolds is a relatively conventional story, one of power and personal struggle pieced together from different testimonies.
Apart from a nice use of desk lamps (the only props on stage alongside the laptops that the actors are reading from) there is little visual stimulation here. And while in some cases words alone are enough to create an absorbing piece of drama, this story feels familiar and its twists and turns don't have the impact they intend. Most frustratingly of all there is never really any exploration of the idea that these actors are new to the material. In the version that this reviewer saw, the actors could well have been familiar with the lines, it would have made no difference. Perhaps this is a testimony to the acting talent on display, but for those watching it felt like a missed opportunity.
Traverse, 228 1404, until Sun 24 Aug, various times, £8– £18.