Departures: A Song Cycle

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Scotsman review (musicals & opera): Departures: A Song Cycle at C Cubed (Venue 16). Review by Susan Mansfield.

When the 15:42 to Canterbury is delayed, the people on the platform gradually start to talk to each other. Stories begin to emerge: the man who has just quit his job in recruitment and bought an oboe; the highly qualified Romanian woman who has left her husband and child in order to find work in the UK. The stories in the show have come from interviews conducted by the company.

Written by Joe Bunce and Matthew Malone, and performed by young Sheffield-based company Verismo, the song cycle ranges ably across a variety of musical styles but lacks many catchy melodies. The eight singers give good performances but struggle to be heard clearly over the musicians, and lines of ordinary conversation tend to sound awkward when sung.

That said, the show speaks directly to a strand of work on the Fringe this year which is about looking beyond virtual connections for true intimacy. All the people in Departures are isolated and there is much to be said for looking up from one’s smartphone into the faces of other human beings.

Until 25 August. Today 3:40pm.

Originally published in The Scotsman

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