Echoes

Neil Smith

Living Record

ZOO

From 06 August 2016 to 28 August 2016

Rating: **

Review by Graeme Strachan

There's a point in many dark plays where wit and clever abstraction must give way to gory shock value, and in the case of Living Record's Echoes, that moment comes about 20 minutes into proceedings, when the slightly curious and intriguingly obtuse narrative descends into a swathe of Grand Guignol bloodletting, beating and sexual savagery.

It's also the moment where the play loses track of itself and begins to spin in ever-widening circles out of control of its own narrative and into an increasingly unclear and ever more boring mess.

Living Record sprung onto the Fringe with last year's Reunion, and the same team has come together again, but this time round, clearly the lightning came out of the bottle.

The story of an angry couple reunited by the return of the husband to the family farmhouse begins so unclear as to make it uncertain for much of the opening if he is in fact the husband, a brother, or simply the hired gardener.

In fact, much of the play seems to be so unclear as to throw down almost deliberate misdirections, or to tantalise with some form of narrative only to eschew it again a scene later. In short, it's a mess.

This is all unfortunate, as the actors clearly throw their all into the performance, and the dialogue itself has a charming musical quality to it, which is all wasted when the overall effect leaves the audience baffled and bored by turns.