The Macbeths had good reason for wakefulness but Miranda Colmans’ collection of wakeful characters all find it difficult to fathom the reason for their insomnia. Slumped on a chair, wearing nightclothes and a disarming eye mask, the actress relates a weary list of all the tried, tested and failed methods for getting to sleep.

This solo show is a masterclass of contained and intelligent acting as four individual stories are threaded together to make a convincing and quietly tragic narrative. Colmans slips from one character to the other with a change of stance or an adjustment of her dressing-gown – the knotted-up career woman, the in-your-face ex-addict, the lonely young mother and the common-sense American whose online chat room for insomniacs is the focus for the unraveling tragedy.

The characters seem a little off-the-peg at first but with great economy, Colmans embodies back-stories and personalities which become more and more convincing. By the denouement of her story, the audience has been drawn into these lonely nocturnal lives as if by an adept wildlife film-maker.

Not sleeping is no fun and in our 24/7 society increasing numbers of us find it hard to switch off and get our eight hours of shut-eye. The vulnerability and fragility that results from sleep deprivation is not to be underestimated as this timely and sensitive performance shows us.


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Julie Morrice

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