No Miracles Here

The Letter Room

Northern Stage at Summerhall

From 05 August 2017 to 26 August 2017

Rating: ****

Review by Georgina Wells

The Letter Room's powerful show, No Miracles Here, focusses on central character Ray's struggle with depression by using a dance marathon as a metaphor for mental health.

One layer of the narrative follows Ray through the gruelling hours of the Miracles competition, meeting judgmental former champions, fellow struggling dancers and supportive new friends. The messaging is never heavy-handed or sentimental—whilst Ray does turn a corner by the end of the show, it's made very clear that this isn't a finite happy ending and that there are no miracles.

This plot is framed as a live music gig by Ray and the Rayettes, a band built around the main character who perform different songs that track his journey. Each of the six cast members swap between instruments and solo vocals, proving themselves to be a talented and versatile bunch—the company also devised and wrote both the script and music, and their investment in the emotive subject matter is clear to see.

Initially, it seems as if the show will be rather static, but the cast soon step out from behind their instruments and throw themselves into the slick, energetic dance numbers. These, like the costumes, have a 1940s look and feel.

This truly original show is at once a moving, original exploration of mental health issues and an electrifying blend of live music and dance—catch it if you can.