Hostage / Bleach / Burn
This Practicum production is an enigmatic set of three one-person shows playing as part of the Camden Fringe. The trilogy gives us a glimpse into the minds of three very different personalities as we discover first-hand a profound internal struggle that they share, a fight, both physical and metaphorical, to be set free. As we follow their journey, each grappling with their past and their future, we are made to feel the presence of the ghosts that haunt each of them, the force, partly imaginative but also incredibly real, that keeps them trapped in their claustrophobic realities. There is a real weight to this piece but despite it’s sombre tone, certain slight moments of humour ease the tension for a few seconds (such as when writer Heather Taylor, makes use of her Canadian heritage and reveals the “curse of the Canadian country,” “plaid”), before plunging us back into the dark depths of the human spirit.
Touching on issues such as terrorism and AIDS this is a bit of a theatrical Babel, just as thought-provoking and just as bleak. The simple set and small theatre allow for the actors to show their true abilities without all the trappings. The tension builds throughout the evening, climaxing with Pierre (Matthew Bulgo doing “Burn”), who although not entirely convincing as a Quebecois separatist, had great stage presence and was more than a little threatening when addressing the audience. At one hour, the play is just long enough to leave us wanting more and goes to show that you do not need a massive budget when there is a solid script, good direction and admirable performances. If you can’t make it to Edinburgh, this is the London alternative: an hour of engaging drama, with enough suspense and twists to keep you absorbed and in a contemplative mood for the rest of the night.