This spring, The Traverse brings us Right Now, directed by Michael Boyd and written by award-winning playwright Catherine-Anne Toupin. Breathless and tense, Right Now brings us a story of pain, memory, manipulation and chaos, through an incredibly talented cast and crew.
Right Now tells the story of Alice and Ben, six months after they move into a new flat. As they get to know their neighbours, they get themselves deeper into a mess of confusion and manipulation. What follows are evenings of drinking, dancing and seduction, until both household’s lives are completely intermingled. All are haunted by past trauma and pain, and it is not long before Alice and Ben are plunged into a dark sea of quiet chaos, which steadily gets louder and louder, until the outside world, and reality, is drowned out.
Whilst described as “a disquieting exploration of one woman’s crisis and darkest desires”, the beauty of Right Now is the stunning performances of the whole cast. While integrating their characters perfectly into each situation, Maureen Beattie, Sean Biggerstaff, Lindsey Campbell, Dyfan Dwyfor, and Guy Williams all expertly ensure to show each character’s own individual struggles and traumas. Handling the text with nuance and sensitivity, the cast’s performances are stunning as well as gripping. The piece leaves an audience unsure of the reality of the plot. Like Alice and Ben, we ourselves are manipulated to the point of questioning what we have experienced.
Boyd’s direction brings out the script’s many layers and complexities, without muddying the waters or distracting from the plot. Split scenes are handled excellently, and instead of breaking audience focus, add further to the pace and thrill the cast offer us. In fact, some moments were like paintings; beautifully choreographed and deftly balanced and structured, creating a snapshot of feeling, which draw us further into the chaos. Added to by atmospheric lighting and simple but effective set design and music by Madeleine Girling and David Paul Jones, the overall effect is mesmerising.
We are left with no time to catch our breath as we shift from scene to scene, and are swept along with the story. It is dizzying. Even humorous moments are tinged with tension, leaving laughter somewhat hysterical – we are balanced between safety and chaos, creating an unsettling and electric atmosphere. It is clear that it would be easy to slip into over-indulgence when tackling a piece such as this, but Right Now never comes close, even at moments of mania or surrealism. The production is a whirlwind, from moments of the darkly erotic, to the quietness of words left unsaid. We walk out of the auditorium exhilarated and hot, uncomfortable but thrilled, and longing to know more.
Right Now runs until the 7th May at The Traverse, Edinburgh.
Read an interview with the lead actor, Lindsey Campbell here: http://young-perspective.net/interview-right-nows-lindsey-campbell/