Beryl

Lesley-Ann Reilly

At Large Theatre Company

Sweet Grassmarket

From 15 August 2016 to 26 August 2016

Rating: *

Review by Catherine Lamm

Beryl is mistress of a service/business which, at the very least, deals with fetishes. She entertains her clients in a seedy, tiny flat.

Frank has enlisted her help with his obsession: women’s shoes, more specifically, with the noise that they make. Beryl has the heels and, after he has donned them and is walking around, she tries to get at what Frank is trying to discover or exorcise from his past. But she’s got her own demons to deal with.

The script by Lesley-Ann Reilly, who is also playing Beryl, lacks reality and believability (what we would call a vanity production). A ragged bedsit and lack of professional finesse would force this women to look for other work.

She has a box of clothing for Frank to go through, scarves, feathers and a tiara, which are quickly snatched from his hand and end up on Beryl. This might be the way Beryl is trying to control the situation but it feels like she doesn’t let Frank reveal himself. It is only the shoes that interested him. Surprisingly, there seem only to be two pairs of shoes, the box of clothing and a bottle of wine, which she goes back to often.

Ms Reilly is good with the character as it is written but not the relationship of situation. Alan Rogers as her client, Frank, seems to be a little easier to follow and believe. But in this tight space—directors Grainne Curistan and Daniel O’Brien—the discomfort the characters are supposed to feel is overshadowed by the discomfort of the actors in the space. There is a lot of walking back and forth and around the space.