Theatre review: The Witness
Edinburgh Festival Fringe Scotsman review: The Witness at Venue 13 (Venue 13), reviewed by Sue Wilson
In terms of its slow-reveal dramatic structure, which sustains an effective degree of suspense throughout, and the absorbingly nuanced, understated performances of its three-strong cast, this production of Alex Hope’s first play by Edinburgh-based company Thrive Theatre scores impressively high. What lies beneath, however, turns out at the end to be so ludicrously far-fetched – in terms of its practical, if not necessarily emotional, likelihood – as to comprehensively deflate all the tension that has been painstakingly built up.
It’s only fair to remain vague about plot details, given the way that Hope gradually and craftily ekes out his clues: suffice to say that the plot, set in Zurich, centres on a twentysomething solo backpacker, Rebecca (Aleda Bliss), being quizzed about her hapless involvement in what is described as Britain’s biggest domestic crisis since the financial crash – but if true would be an infinitely greater media cataclysm.
The show’s accompanying publicity talks of Hope’s fascination with the unknowable private griefs of iconic public figures, but as the title suggests, the focus here is more on the intrusive and inconvenient implications for Rebecca, whose parallel travails with her uncommunicative boyfriend back in London, intercut using voiceover recordings of her telephone messages, shed no further light on the piece’s ultimately mysterious intentions.
MORE INFO: The Witness at Venue 13 (Venue 13), until 25 August
Originally published in The Scotsman