Echoes is performing at Zoo Monkey House, Pleasance at 9pm.
In an isolated cottage, deep in the English countryside, John makes a surprise visit to Helene, whom he abandoned nine years ago. As a storm rages outside, a nine-year-old girl looks on. Silently. Not making a sound…
Living Records are following up their 2015 Fringe success with Reunion, Neil Smith’s debut work, by bringing his next piece Echoes. Described as a domestic horror it is quite possibly one of the darkest chilling pieces of work on the Fringe.
With plot twists at every turn, the audience is kept on the edge of their seat, gingerly watching the events unfold before them. What seems like a relatively harmless story to begin with, mutates into a sea of wrath, revenge and pain. The two actors were captivating to watch – they both commanded the stage – initially, the man had a greater presence dominating his old lover and demanding to see his daughter. Soon the tables turned as he buckled under the weight of guilt thrown again and again at him by the mother and she resumed control. And control the stage she did. Perversely beautiful her madness was incredible to see. Each word she threw barbed with both truth and insanity causing the audience to really wonder if she was insane or whether every move was so hideously calculated that she was entirely in control.
A little grotesque and King Learesque at times to my liking, I don’t have a penchant for eye stabbings, the play remained engrossing even as it reached its pinnacle of torture and suppression. I found Smith’s writing a little jolting and without enough flow but it did suit the purpose of leaving the audience jarred and uncomfortable. The story itself was a little convoluted at times with a little too much left to the imagination – it would have helped if there was more clarity in the woman’s speech instead of mad ramblings and rages. The audience was left doubting so much, whether the daughter was still there, whether the father was still alive, whether the mother was insane, delusional or just twisted. Not as scary as I would like, I would say it was more of a thriller than a horror although there was plenty of horrible things taking place!