The Wendy House Trilogy: Edmund
Jealous Whale Theatre
Greenside @ Infirmary Street
It's no surprise that, after the massive successes of Jethro Compton's Bunker, Capone and Frontier trilogies, each taking place in a single heavily dressed stage with the same actors and differing themes, that they would spawn imitators.
On the face of it The Wendy House Trilogy looks to be following suit in an interesting manner: a lone standing building at the Greenside venue, dressed as a literal Wendy House, with three plays each tying into the themes of Peter Pan, and another literary classic.
It's a shame then that the experience of The Wendy House: Edmund, doesn't live up to the promise. While the set dressing is highly immersive, although sadly not sound-proof as music kept bleeding in from the street outside, the script struggles vainly throughout to try and find what sort of tone it is supposed to have. Moments of the actions flit from near-farce to deathly seriousness and back, with characters acting in manners which would only vaguely make sense in either style of play.
In the Wendy House, the aging woman (symbolised by an empty bed to which the actors react) is visited by her estranged and unfamiliar grandson, Edmund, who wants to know about his similarly estranged father, but she is near death.
In the same space, the ghost or hallucination of her niece taunts and mocks her but is invisible to Edmund. Thrown into the mix are childish nurse Lucy and her care assistant boss Mr Nuss, or Tom to his friends. To further complicate matters, Edmund periodically reads a diary of Howard, a campy figure who struts around, looking after Wendy.
It's clear throughout that the play was meant to be seen along with the other two parts of the trilogy in order to shed some light on the events and offhandly mentioned side-characters. The unfortunate effect however is that this part of the trilogy, which in these latter days of the Festival is on first, is actually the final part of the story, and one which doesn't really work by itself.
However the script is so tumulous and uneven, and many lines so quickly and mutteringly delivered, that, after seeing it, I can't imagine anyone would make a point of seeing the others.
Reviewer: Graeme Strachan