Theatre review: Each of Us

Edinburgh Fringe Scotsman review: Each of Us at Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33), reviewed by Susan Mansfield

It has been five years since Ben Moor brought a new show to the Fringe, and Each of Us promises a welcome return to his unique brand of clever, surreal, inventive monologue. In an hour of some of the most stylish writing I’ve seen so far this year, he mixes merciless humour and madcap ideas with moments of heart-warming pathos.

Each of Us has its starting point in the lethargic days that follow the ending of a relationship. Our protagonist finds himself at a party given by a couple of media types whose young son gives him a lesson on treasure, and how few things really matter.

He then charts the course of his relationship with Radium from their first meeting to their marriage, and a golden moment in Venice when all things did seem possible. Moor is great at sarcasm, but he can also be unashamedly romantic.

All this is laced with a constant stream of inventive concepts: pre-damaged plastic Lego bricks for dystopian landscapes; hair salons that have a stenographer to record the gossip; a charity scheme for sponsoring a Third World warlord. Moor’s protagonist works as a “corporate thwart”, paid to reduce his company’s productivity in ever more inventive ways.

But in this skewed present or not-so-distant future, there are also very real questions being asked about authentic experience in the age of the virtual, how we form meaningful connections with others, the nature (he doesn’t beat about the bush here) of the human soul.

That Moor is entertaining was never in doubt. But what is remarkable is the way that, in the midst of so much cleverness, he can toss in a line of such succinct beauty, or wisdom, or sadness that it captures a truth which some plays never attain, however many words they throw at it.

MORE INFO: Each of Us at Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33), Until 26 August

Originally published in The Scotsman