Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: Births, Deaths & Marriages, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Billy Barrett.
“Four young people. One long night”, reads the opening credits to this multimedia production,which is stylistically slick but borders on soap opera in content.
Births, Deaths & Marriages delivers its title’s promise: a teenager worrying about his girlfriend’s unplanned pregnancy, a young man contemplating suicide on the railway tracks, and a possible bride-to-be considering her boyfriend’s drunken proposal make up the disparate but occasionally interlinking chapters of this consciously state-of-a-generation urban drama.
The four performers bring a captivating energy to the play, alternating between inhabiting the angst-ridden 20-something characters, narrating from an outsiders’ perspective and providing a backing soundscape of city dwellers and bus announcements. The fragmented narrative sections are more affecting than the properly “acted” bits though, which comes off as a little over the top.
Rob Salmon’s inventive direction begins beautifully, illustrating the live narration with projected film footage of a deserted cityscape, controlled by the actors onstage.
This crisply simple conceit becomes confused by a few too many directorial flourishes though, which fail to lift the piece beyond an aesthetically pleasing take on well-worn story-lines.
Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33) until 31 August / listings
Published in The Scotsman on 22 August 2015
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