Acts of Redemption
Dramatic twists, bitter and sweet
This article is from 2015.
Unrestricted View's four little tales of gnawing despair, hope and all things in between prove that tales with a twist are not as passé as once thought. Created by New York Times writer Ken Jaworowski they are pacily directed by James Wren and never outstay their welcome.
Pulse, performed by a disparate trio (James Huntington, Amee Smith and Dan Lees), looks at how families trying to settle scores can ruin lives, however well-intended. A father wants his kid to toughen up, a woman who is her father's carer struggles to cope with his wishes and a gay son's coming out to his religious father isn't as he expected. All three characters are portrayed with quiet, understated dignity.
Not so with Timberwood Drive performed by Joe Wredden – the least subtle, but still immensely watchable, piece. If the story is a little well-worn, at least there is a nice comeuppance to the obnoxious womanising character's fate.
Rachel Parris, meanwhile, has a monologue of hermetically sealed sadness involving potential escape from her lot in Luck of the Draw. Even though she is likeable, her flaws are laid bare with a nuanced understanding of thwarted ambition.
Best of the lot though, is opener Never Smile, Never Wave, which has the most acerbic writing of the four. A predatory snob is put in her place when it becomes apparent that Versace dresses cannot cover the aching chasm inside her. Akila Cristiano 's child in woman's clothing is cringingly, howlingly recognisable, at once filled with pathos and glee. Her Cristal champagne glass runneth over.
With elements of Raymond Carver at his most humane, these well-judged snapshots of human fallibility cut to the bone without the need for showboating or grand gesture.
Underbelly Cowgate, 0844 545 8252, until 30 Aug, 3.20pm, £9.50-£10.50 (£8.50-£9.50).