The Last Kill

Gary Quinn

Contemporary Theatre of Scotland

Greenside @ Nicolson Square

From 07 August 2015 to 29 August 2015

Rating: ***

Review by Liam Blain

The hurdles and heartaches of war are hurtled into the spotlight in Contemporary Theatre of Scotland's well created, if somewhat frantic production, The Last Kill.

This hour-long monologue is centred around soldier Michael (Gary Quinn). Moving forwards and backwards in time, it reveals the psychological results of life on the front line.

Interspersed with both moments of action and reflection, this hard-hitting narrative documents neatly the nasty plunge into post traumatic stress disorder that so many soldiers find themselves facing on their return from war. Set in a washroom, Julia Oh's direction is cleverly metaphorical, matching the stark realities of war with the solitary confinement in which Michael now finds himself.

Quinn absolutely captivates the audience with his charm and "man around town" persona, but as the play continues you can't help but feel both sorry and sad for the man crumbling before your eyes.

It's at the points in the script where Quinn takes on other roles to create conversation that the believability in the production falters slightly. His portrayal of Michael's mother, the commanding officer and other comrades takes away from the intense nature of the script and Quinn's change in accents is not always convincing.

The moments of pure beauty are found when Quinn, as Michael, stands face on and dictates his story to the audience. When there are moments of intense battle, he can become frantic and slightly go over the top, but this doesn't take away from his superb portrayal of a difficult character.

The unusual lighting design choices within the piece are also somewhat off-putting at times with bright pink, blue and green LEDs used to cover the stage. They do feel quite out of place in the context of the show but do not distract totally from the hard work and artistry created by the company.

The Last Kill is a very engrossing and psychological piece that pulls at the heartstrings of all who see it. With a little work and some more time, this production will surely be creating discourse around Edinburgh for the days and weeks to come.