Snap.Catch.Slam

★★★
theatre review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 06 Aug 2011
33328 large
102793 original

Five actors take a seat in a small dark room. Three stories, inspired by real life events, unfold.

In Snap, a young female teacher is pushed to breaking point by a mouthy, cocksure male pupil. A passer-by intervenes at a house fire to save a baby’s life in Catch. And in Slam, a vicious attack leaves its permanent mark upon a doting mother.

Emma "Analogue" Jowett’s trio of shorts are so loaded with The Big Events that little is required in terms of a set (a chair each and two overhead lights) or flashy choreography. The difficulty with such an incident-laden hour, of course, is that as one high-strung tragedy treads upon the heels of another, the mood of world-altering intensity feels a little one-note. Drama can lurk in the unremarkable, too.

That said, there’s plentiful excitement throughout and the performances are universally engaging: Gareth Kieran Jones, a consummate storyteller with a welcome lightness of touch, is uncomfortably endearing as the casually racist London everyman and his act of instinctive heroism provides the play’s apex. Shian Denovan, despite some unnecessary sign-posting (she’s on edge, so talks about—and drinks—coffee a lot, geddit?), throws herself into Miss Jenkins’ breakdown with wild-eyed fervour and Teresa Jennings’ Karen beams with maternal warmth before a slow degradation into pitiable, childlike helplessness.

The show benefits from its ballsy, pared back, direct-to-the-audience style which, with a little light to occasionally illuminate the dark, might just unleash the full force residing in this fizzing little firecracker lurking beneath the Pleasance Courtyard.