theSpace on the Mile, Edinburgh – until 27 August 2016
Reviewer: Hugh Simpson
Edgy and raw, but not always consistent, Some Voices from Spearhead Theatre and New Celts at theSpace on the Mile tackles difficult subject matters with humour and humanity.
There are some uneven performances, but these never detract too greatly from an encouraging production. Joe Penhall’s 1994 play premiered at the Royal Court with Ray Winstone and is perhaps best known for a film adaptation starring Daniel Craig. So Michael Dallas has a great deal to live up to in the central role.
He does more than adequately as Ray, a young man recently discharged from an institution, who wants to rebuild his relationship with his brother and even find love, but remains troubled by the voices he hears. Dallas appears at times as a cheery philosopher reminiscent of many characters in early Bill Forsyth movies, but is able to flip the character around to show the confusion and pain he feels.
There is a clever mix of comedy and more serious events here, but it does not always gel, and there are occasional uncertainties of tone in this production. Andy Robertson, as the ranting Ives, has a brave stab at the character but never quite convinces as a paranoid street philosopher who has spent most of his time institutionalised.
Similarly, Lewis McCutchen is never quite evil enough as the controlling, violent Dave, the ex-boyfriend of Laura, the woman Ray falls in love with, and who is played by Rachael White with a touching delicacy.
Stefan Ward, as Ray’s brother Pete, has a believably puzzled humanity as a man trying to deal with situations he finds difficult even to comprehend. Iain Davie’s direction is calm and clever, with the cast handling frequent changes of scene with the minimum of fuss.
There is a raw energy to this production that is not always completely in focus, but which has a considerable emotional impact.
Running time: 1 hour 10 minutes (no interval)
theSpace on the Mile (Venue 39), 80 High Street, EH1 1TH
Sunday 7 – Saturday 27 August 2016
Daily, odd dates only: 3.15 pm
Book tickets on the EdFringe website: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/some-voices