The Words Are There at theSpace @ Surgeons Hall is a powerful and compelling piece of new writing from a newcomer to the Edinburgh Fringe.
This one-man production, written and performed by Ronan Dempsey, is a combination of physical theatre and mime, but it is also so much more than that. At times touching, at other times comic, Dempsey’s very expressive facial and body language reminded me of silent movies, but silent movies would never have dealt with such a subject. Dempsey’s character, Mick, has been silenced by life events, from childhood taunting because of a speech impediment, to domestic abuse as an adult. Despite all that life has thrown at him, Mick is still at heart a tender, caring man, who wanted a loving relationship and thought he’d found one.
The use of objects found around him to “create” his absent partner is full of ingenuity, such that you can almost imagine she is there, particularly in scenes where their conversations are heard and Mick is re-enacting them, silently of course.
Dempsey portrays Mick’s feverish agitation, his awkwardness and uncertainty, and his moments of tenderness with such minute attention to detail. This really is a masterclass in physical theatre, and I hope that this appearance at the Fringe will be the first of many.
I’d just add one small warning here – there is very strong language used in the pre-recorded conversations, which isn’t mentioned in the Fringe promotional material, but is not only within the context of this story, but an essential element to the background that is Mick’s life.
The Words Are There
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall
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Group: Ronan Dempsey from Nth Degree Productions
Review by Lisa Sibbald