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The Echo: a new play at Camden Fringe

Wednesday, 3 August, 2011

Confronting the past

There’s an odd texture to this play, which concerns itself with the ghosts of our past and what they might say to us if they were present today.

The idea itself is both appealing and intriguing. If we confronted the person we fell in love with years ago, how would we explain what has happened since? If we met the person whose death influenced everything we have done since then, how could we explain why we have done what we have?

The perfomances too, are often oddly affecting. Esme (Annalie Wilson) returns as a vampish 28-year old, having died in old age, in part, it would seem to seduce her younger ex-colleague. Rich (George Weightman) confronts his best friend who died ten years earlier and whose death is the reason that he is now a friendless and almost hopeless 26-year old. Helen (Jeanette Rourke) confronts the man she fell in love with thirty-odd years ago.

Sometimes though, we are shown too much, as in the final scene where Helen, who has been comforting Dan (Alexander Nash) needs to be comforted herself. It does give the drama a roundness on which to finish, but by then the audience should have got the point.

Sometimes, too, the dialogue seems a little clumpy, as in the scene where Helen and her soon to be divorced husband have a row about what they have made (or haven’t made) of their lives. The direction (by Adam Marchan) sometimes rubs in a point a little too much – to have the ghosts on stage throughout is perhaps a little unnecessary and adds to imbalances between the characters in the story. That of two of the couples intertwine, while the others do not.

A lighter touch and less emphasis on ‘drama’ may be needed here.

So, there are some imbalances and oddities in the construction, but the overall architecture is enough to send us on our way with some questions about our own behaviour and experience, and with the memory of some very competent performances.

Cast: Kimberley Bliss – Stacey; Pete Maxey – Tom; Alexander Nash – Dan; Jeanette Rourke – Helen; George Weightman – Rich; Annalie Wilson – Esme

Director – Andrew Marchan; Writer/producer – Grace Night; Assistant Director – Nicole SC Ingemann

reviewed 2 August 2011

(c) Michael Spring 2011

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