REVIEW: Bare Skin on Briny Waters – Pleasance Bunker One, Edinburgh

This reflective story from Maureen Lennon and Tabitha Mortiboy, is both personal and universal to the generation of Millennials, promised so much, yet largely failing to forge their own path in the world.

On a spare playing space, furnished only with a wooden bench and a floor scattered with shards of mirrored glass, Annie and Sophie tell their intertwining tales. Annie (Charlie Sellers), a Media Studies graduate is five years out from Leeds University, living with her boyfriend Joe and working in fish processing. Sophie (Maureen Lennon), married to a controlling husband, comforts herself by telling the tales of Scheherazade ,and reflecting on her previously happy life with her mum, dad and little sister.

Annie’s tale is all-too familiar: starting with high hopes on leaving university, to taking that job you didn’t really want but you’ll use as a temporary stepping stone until your dream job comes along, only to find five years on you’re still there. The money is good, and while it’s not what you want, it’s undemanding and it’s paying the bills. It’s the same with your boyfriend, he’s nice, it’s easy but it’s unremittingly boring and while society is pushing you towards the inevitable commitments, you feel your dreams being squashed and the noose tightening around your neck.

Sophie’s tale of quiet control and abuse, loss of self, inability to escape and descent into pure misery, is depressingly just as familiar.

Both Sellers and Lennon turn in beautifully judged performances that stay firmly on the side of believability, restrained and perfectly controlled.

Where the production falls down is in its perfectly controlled, restrained, calmly told, and at times lullaby-like presentation. It’s quiet, it’s delicate, it’s gently paced, it conveys its message well, but this all renders the piece very one-note. With a one hour running time, and little to stimulate visually, the interest wanes. There is value in what the writers are trying to say, but it’s largely predictable and needs greater contrast between the characters and a variation in pace and tone, to really hit home. With some minor tweaks it will be one to watch out for in the future.

Runs until 28 August 2017 | Image: Contributed

This review was originally published by The Reviews Hub