Venue: Underbelly, Cowgate
11 August 2011 WOS Rating: Charlotte Essex's terse four-hand play about a suicide support chatroom has been given a surprisingly late slot at the Underbelly, but perhaps that's in keeping with its dark subject matter - and in any case it feels appropriate for the linguistically explicit sex scene near the start of the piece.
There's plenty of light and shade in the play, though - even laughs - as four damaged individuals discuss their problems, keep secrets, lie, flirt and find either support or despair.
Jacob James Beswick is enthralling as the gay teen Jed tormented by bullies, although his descent into the depths of darkness seems a little rapid. Meghan Treadway gives a volatile performance as rich girl Frankie, bolshy one minute and needy the next. And Cerith Flinn is heartbreaking as the do-gooder Stu, too concerned at helping with other people's problems to be aware of his own.
Laura Keefe never lets the pace flag, and the delivery of the online chats is convincing. The piece has some moments of real pathos, and the concluding online chat between Jed and his mother Laina, a study in impotent love from Kate Cook, is highly moving. There's just the nagging sense that it's all a bit slight.
- David Kettle
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