Gods Are Fallen And All Safety Gone
Parent-child relationships unpicked in this gender-swap drama
This article is from 2015.
Selma Dimitrejevic's study of how we first realise parents are flawed human beings is initially hampered by the constant circling of mother and daughter, played respectively by Sean Campion and Scott Turnbull. Emulating the sense that their cyclical dialogue is going nowhere, it is steeped in an uneasy banality – a failure to get to the point. Such pacing up and down the stage is a distracting but functional choice of movement that emphasises the wandering conversations' tensions.
When it settles, and the two 'women' sit down to talk, a moving portrait is revealed: a minimal reminder of all the things we should say to our parents, while we still have the chance. Questions of life choices and happiness take on a new complexion as things start to fall apart. Taken from many real conversations between families, there are occasional howls of laughter at how irritating or pig-headed both can be, and a shivery recognition in talking about illness, highlighting the mother's stoicism.
Campion and Turnbull never once caricature nuances of speech or gesture. There is an assured touch to each – subtle and understated. The shifting perspective points are sensitively portrayed with enormous warmth, and the first breakthrough in communication is a quietly devastating moment of tea and empathy.
Summerhall, 560 1581, until 29 Aug (not 23), 8.05pm, £12 (£10).