Meet Me At Dawn

Zinnie Harris

Traverse Theatre Company

Traverse Theatre

From 04 August 2017 to 27 August 2017

Rating: ***

Review by Philip Fisher

Zinnie Harris has three plays running in this year’s Edinburgh International Festival. The first is presented under the auspices of the Traverse Theatre Company, thus combining EIF with its Fringe cousin.

Meet Me at Dawn is an existential, Beckettian mystery featuring Helen and Robyn, partners stranded on what may be an island, following a boating accident.

It takes some time to piece together the history, which is an intentional technique to intrigue. The likelihood is that academic Robyn, played with grim realism by Neve McIntosh under Orla O’Loughlin’s direction, is either dreaming or suffering from serious delusions. Then again, Sharon Duncan-Brewster’s Helen, though a scientist, acts pretty strangely too.

What develops is a meditation on grief, utilising a device borrowed from the Orpheus myth that may seem artificial to contemporary eyes but achieves the writer’s goal in enabling the ladies to place their relationship squarely under the authorial microscope.

While their mutual love is indisputable, matters get fraught as a decision of Robyn’s offends Helen, who by that stage in a playing time of a little fewer than 90 minutes holds most of the cards, meaning that she can play ruthlessly on her partner’s guilt.

This is a small-scale, intense two-hander that will make viewers think about life, the universe and everything.