The Human Ear

Alexandra Wood

Paines Plough

Roundabout @ Summerhall

From 06 August 2015 to 30 August 2015

Rating: ****

Review by Philip Fisher

The Human Ear is an intriguing tale made infinitely more worthwhile by George Perrin's direction for Paines Plough.

It involves three characters. Sian Reese-Williams plays Lucy, while Abdul Sallis does double duty. First, he is Lucy's long-lost brother Jason but in addition he also portrays her copper boyfriend, Ed.

The family has not been lucky. Dad was blown up in Kuwait and long afterwards Mum on a bus.

In between, young Jason found trouble when he left a pig's head in a mosque as part of a very personal protest.

The hour-long drama, skillfully played in-the-round, centres on the confusion caused by Jason's return in the wake of his mother's demise. This is exacerbated when Ed questions whether Jason is who he seems.

The special factor that turns a good drama into far more is pitch-perfect switching between stories and timelines, using lighting to define who is talking with Lucy.

This takes place not only between scenes and paragraphs but even in the middle of words on occasion.

Aided by two strong performances, this maintains high drama throughout what would otherwise be a good rather than exceptional experience.