Reviews Edinburgh Fringe 2018 Published 11 August 2018

Edinburgh Review: No One is Coming to Save You at Pleasance Courtyard

Until 27th August 2018

‘A rush of catastrophic thinking moving in slow motion’: Ava Davies on a reality-distorting two-hander.

Ava Davies

No One is Coming to Save You at Pleasance Courtyard, as part of the Edinburgh Fringe 2018.

Start with the images.

A woman and a man (a girl and a boy) in monochrome, vaguely reminding me of John Travolta and Uma Thurman. 

A patch of astroturf and the type of TV you find in art galleries, the kind of TV that would show a looping video of a woman sewing something into her skin, little bubbles of blood clotting around the thread, then would suddenly cut to a smiling woman picking lemons out of a basket. 

Hawaiian shirts, gaudy and achey, stained with blood. White teeth bared with blood stuck in swollen gums. A gleaming hammer with the potential for soft, matted gore on its steel head.

It’s a bit like this:

If you took a glass from the kitchen and put it in front of your blank TV screen and really looked at its reflection in the blackness, really focused on the edges and ridges and tried not to blink until your eyes started to water and the number of sides the glass had started to multiply and fractal out and turn upside down and inside out until you blinked and it just became a single 2D reflection again.

Or:

If you said a word over and over again until it lost its meaning but you kept saying it anyway and you push push pushed through that barrier of mouth make noise until suddenly the meaning came back.

Maybe something like:

A rush of catastrophic thinking moving in slow motion.

But actually:

It’s what would happen if Victory Condition and Nothing had sex and then both cheated on each other with Twin Peaks but then they all ended up living in a house share anyway.

When something gets filtered through a screen it distorts into a version of reality that doesn’t quite match the real thing. When I was younger I used to think that the people on TV were funnelled through the wires that poured out the back of our clunky old Sony. It’s like Agatha Elwes and Rudolphe Mdlongwa have been put through a tube and have clawed their way out. Their eyes are glazed, it’s like they’re not quite here with us, like they can’t quite believe that this, (this!) is the world we’re living in. The ennui, the exhaustion – it seeps into your bones. It’s occasionally too much – too distancing – so your eyes vaguely slide to the flickering screen behind the man and woman, letting the lights play on your irises. The only things that can break through the haze are these pockets of violence – a bomb, a hijacking, a punch. That feeling’s been staged before – Barrel Organ have cornered that particular niche in my theatrical history, and Chris Thorpe and Martin Crimp before them – but there’s a core of sweetness to No One is Coming to Save You that edges it out from the rest. Or maybe not sweetness but – something. Sincerity, perhaps. Something genuine. A tentative, knowingly misplaced optimism that the show gently ends on. A sliver of gold nestled between your ribs.

No One is Coming to Save You is on at Pleasance Courtyard until 27th August 2018. Click here for more details. 

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Ava Davies is a contributor to Exeunt Magazine

Edinburgh Review: No One is Coming to Save You at Pleasance Courtyard Show Info


Directed by Charlotte Fraser

Written by Nathan Ellis

Cast includes Agatha Elwes and Rudolphe Mdlongwa

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