‘No One is Coming to Save You’, by theatre company This Noise, begins with a characteristically bold and bright yellow text reassuring the audience that it is okay to be confused by the proceeding sixty minutes. It is okay to lose touch with the concrete reality of the stuffy Pleasance bunker. It is okay to not be okay. Moreover, it is probably encouraged.
What follows this strangely warm, yet ominous, piece of advice is an extremely well-performed and dynamic two-hander, in which our unnamed protagonists attempt to cling to a reality that is slowly detaching itself from them. Quiet, hypnotic, and moving, the isolated atmosphere lends itself to this insomniac introspection on potentially unattainable normality in the modern world.
The script, performed in the third person by the engaging and immediately sympathetic duo, fluidly swoons between melancholic descriptions of monotonous everyday traffic jams, punctuated by surprising stabs of brutality. The audience crowd around a small patch of synthetic grass as the woman admits that she thinks about running away with the woman from the office to become terrorists on the weekends, tears the inside of her mouth to pieces with her teeth, imagines bloody traffic accidents just to have a conversation starter. The man contemplates attacking his sleeping child with a hammer and burning down the contents of a colleague’s home. But the violence in this show, while sudden, is part of a wider question about expression and how our feelings threaten to overflow when stifled by boring clerical work. We’ve all probably felt at some point the overwhelming need to break something when we run out of words, become frustrated. It just so happens that, for these characters, what needs to be broken are bones and the societal expectations of nine-to-five routine. It’s sad, but heartfelt, and realistic to a degree.
By the show’s conclusion they finally meet and announce that everything will be okay. Maybe. It’s hard to tell if they believe that specific statement or not, but it is hard not to be moved by both the desperation of these two and by their genuine hope that their perspectives will change. It is a sudden change of tone that is not entirely unwelcome as the violent office fantasies are quickly forgotten, however seems almost unearned and too easy. Sandwiches are tucked into, we all share a warming chat about where we find hope in the world, and we shuffle on out into the Fringe flurry again. Nevertheless, it’s difficult to find this unfulfilling. My brain tells me that I wanted more. My heart, however, was satisfyingly chicken-souped for the day.
Cosy, sometimes jarring, and emotional, this show delivers its promise. Nobody is coming to save you, but they might hold your hand and show you how to make everything a little bit more okay.
‘No One is Coming to Save You’ is performed at Venue 33 (Bunker Two) Pleasance Courtyard and runs from August 5-27 at 12:30pm.
Tickets can be purchased at the Box Office or online at https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/no-one-is-coming-to-save-you