Edinburgh Fringe Festival: Morning by Simon Stephens
Simon Stephens collaborates with artistic director Sean Holmes and develops an explorative piece with members from The Lyric Young Company of the turmoil that comes with coming of age and the exposure of trauma and life to an inexperienced soul. Before its London leg in The Lyric, Hammersmith it plays at The Traverse in Edinburgh as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2012.
The set is sparsely decorated with a big, central fridge and a forensic tent that sits to its right, in which the dying mother of central character Stephanie lies. Scarlet Billham plays Stephanie with an immaturity and puzzled nature which takes a while to settle in to, but intrigues. Her use of rhythm is repetitive and inquisitive, but appropriately directed.
Her struggles in coming to terms with her mother’s terminal illness cause her to lash out and she attempts to exert control over other areas of her life – at one end of the spectrum, insisting her brother’s things are hers and in the extreme, taking her boyfriend’s life. Her best friend Cat (Joana Nastari) joins her on this trip into the woods, after suggesting a threesome to boyfriend Stephen (Ted Reilly). They tease, tie up and torture. Their coolness in reaction is chilling and their sense of play with one another is utterly riveting.
Reilly is an attentive actor who responds fluidly to whatever presents itself in the moment – this is refreshing. Myles Westman too, who plays Stephanie’s brother Alex, plays an aged soul through the traumatic situation with their mother, but is a focused performer who is touching and wonderful to watch play.
“The philosophers have only interpreted the world. The point, however, is to change it.”
Stephens’ and Holmes’ stylised nature in both their artistry of writing and directing collaborate beautifully and Holmes has certainly made The Lyric known for bringing impacting, raw pieces of writing to life – it’s fantastic to know that they are spreading this into the Lyric Young Company too and utilising the company’s obvious talent. The use of song, music and light supports the dynamic of the piece entirely.
The use of exposing the show’s young technician on stage showcases his immense talent in mixing and production. His involvement on stage also includes regularly checking his phone, exposing the lack of attention span and our obsession with phones and gadgets and what it means to connect and be young in modern times. Subtle statements that make you think, is a clever trait of Sean Holmes.
Don’t miss this production; it provokes a variety of emotive responses and questions. Inspiringly so.
Morning is at the Lyric Hammersmith from 5th September 2012. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.