COMFORT SLAVES – Edinburgh Fringe

In Edinburgh Festival, Festivals, Plays, Regional theatre, Reviews, Scotland by Thom DibdinLeave a Comment

✭✭✭✩✩    Unsettling

Jon is part of Æ’s young critics scheme.

New Town Theatre (Venue 7): Sat 8 – Sun 30 Aug 2015

Not for the fainthearted, Comfort Slaves performed by Immersive Acting Movement deals with horrible issues that have become part of our society.

Directed and written by Craig Boyle, the play follows the lives of a group of individuals connected by the despicable Jerry Logan MP (Sands Stirling) who is at the centre of all the corruption – in the same circle as Jimmy Saville.

Nathan Dunn and Shannon Davidson. Photo: Matthew Thomas

Peter (Rhys Anderson)’s pregnant wife Gillian (Holly Wedgewood) has gone missing after publicly accusing Logan of rape. His sister, Sarah (Shannon Davidson), is on a TV talent show and her husband, Gavin (Nathan Dunn), has become a criminal in debt to Mr Logan. The play reflects on all the recent stories of conspiracy and corruption in our society and our place within it.

Peter’s love for his wife is the only glimmer of hope here, but eventually due to a government and a society that doesn’t care, he too is corrupted.

The choice of venue is effective. The New Town Theatre Kitchen is a small room lit by lamps. The actors are surrounded – even if it feels the other way round. It immediately immerses you and throws you into the story. The characters speak to you, look at you for support and, in the case of Jerry Logan, try to persuade you.

spits controversy

The play spits controversy in the faces in the faces of its audience and does so effectively through Boyle’s clever direction and the conviction of the actors.

Nathan Dunn’s monologue is a display of raw emotion and passion as he lays out Gavin’s opinions to show the hardship of those at the bottom of society. Jerry Logan is a very hateable man and through all the heinous things he says and does Sands Stirling never falters.

This well-written play fulfils its aim of shocking and disgusting its audience and brings them into the performance. However, some of the scenes are extremely graphic and may have gone a step too far.

Running time: 1 hour 10 minutes (no interval)
New Town Theatre (Venue 7), Freemasons’ Hall, George Street, EH2 3DH
Saturday 8 – Sunday 30 August (not Tuesdays)
Daily: 3.15pm and 8.15pm; extra evening perfs Fri/Sat: 10.30pm
Book tickets on the EdFringe website: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/comfort-slaves
Immersive Acting Movement website: http://www.immersiveactingmovement.com/

 

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Thom Dibdin
Thom Dibdin has been reviewing and writing about theatre in Scotland since the last millennium. He is currently Scotland Correspondent for The Stage newspaper. In 2010, he founded AllEdinburghTheatre.com. The city's only dedicated theatre website, it covers all Edinburgh theatre year-round - and all theatre made in Edinburgh during EdFringe. Thom is passionate about quality in theatre criticism and is a member of the Critics' Awards for Theatre in Scotland. He tweets from @AllEdinTheatre and, personally, from @ThomDibdin.

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