The Paradise Project (Northern Stage at Summer Hall, Monday, August 10th 2015) ***

I didn’t really follow what this piece was about, and what the point of it was. It seemed like it was about two people in some kind of secluded building making recordings and agreeing how they would live together.  There were dialogues about how much water they would drink and how it would be shared. Others around whether they would have sex together.  As we watched they made furniture together, and at points constructed the set around them.

Though overall the acting was enjoyable, to get the most out of this piece, I think that I needed more of a back story to help me follow what was happening.

My verdict ***

The Human Ear (Roundabout at Summer Hall, Monday August 10th 2015) *****

I recently caught up with Nick Payne’s Constellations and was in awe of both the writing and actors’ technique. The Human Ear is another tightly written piece that relies on the two actors working extremely closely together. This is a Paines Plough production and is an example of the very high standard of most of the work at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

The dialogue is carefully plotted. The human ear is literally an image that appears in the play, but it is also an image for the attention that the audience has to pay to listening to what is being presented to them. As an audience member you have to do a lot of the work in piecing together what you hear.

I only went to this because the production I had booked for had been cancelled and I was so pleased that I managed to see what was a thrilling piece of drama.

My Verdict: *****

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Going Viral (Northern Stage at Summer Hall, Monday August 10th 2015) ****

Going Viral was a really interesting piece which explores myths around viruses and how they might spread. It’s a monologue and Bye takes on the different characters. It’s a lovely structured piece and it’s very easy to follow the narrative. What I would say is that the piece is also an engaging lecture and there is clearly an educational agenda here as well.

Daniel Bye is an energetic and engaging performer who keeps the audiences’ attention for the full hour.

So as well as being entertained, I also learnt a lot.

My verdict: ****

Key Change (Northern Stage at Summer Hall, Monday August 10th 2015) *****

Over the last year I have become familiar with Clean Break, so it was really exciting to find another company which is engaged with telling the story of women in prison. Key Change was a piece by Open Clasp, which tells the story of four women in prison.

The main focus is on Angie (Jessica Johnson) and Kelly (Christina Berriman-Dawson) and shows how their friendship has developed, and some of the reasons that they are both in prison. The story is harrowing at times. There’s laughter, but the stories have domestic and drug abuse in the background.

Overall this is an energetic peice and the hour just flew by.

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My verdict: *****