Daniel Sinclair

Aug 18 2015 | By More

✭✭✭✭✩    All in the Mind

Laughing Horse @ The Cellar Monkey (Venue 293): Thurs 6 – Sat 29 Aug 2015

When two people meet on a park bench in this late-night, free fringe production, it is apparent from the blood and bruises on the young man that something is awry.

The man is the eponymous Daniel Sinclair. His friend, Esteneth, is eager to find out what has happened to him. At the slightest jolt, however, Daniel morphs into someone else, leaving Esteneth bewildered and exasperated.

William Coleman, Ashley McLean and Andrew Sim. Photo: Jonathan Bain

William Coleman, Ashley McLean and Andrew Sim. Photo: Jonathan Bain

As the plot progresses we learn more about the story behind these multiple personalities. Although dark, it is handled with humour and compassion.

This bold piece of new writing is the first production of newly-formed Edinburgh-based Pandorum Theatre. It was developed with the support of Queen Margaret University, from where several of its members recently graduated. Writer, Lois Robertson, director, Emma Lynne Harley and actor Andrew Sim (who shares the role of Daniel with William Coleman on alternate nights).

Sim is certainly up to the task of playing multiple roles while Ashley McLean, as Esteneth, handles the almost improvisatory nature of her role with taut control.

as minimal as can be

Typical for a Free Fringe show, the production is as minimal as can be. With very little room for manoeuvre, the direction makes the most of the intimate space, emulating perhaps the claustrophobic clutter of Daniel’s overpopulated head.

The basic recorded background noise – music by Andy Robertson – is a gritty riff on a drum-kit. As Sim’s Daniel flits from person to person – in one scene, playing two people simultaneously – Esteneth receives a barrage of information.

McLean soaks this up with stoic intensity, seemingly sparing the audience, who are able to laugh. It is ‘a grim comedy’ after all. However, it is the writer who has the last laugh, after Esteneth exits the stage.

Theatre is an illusion, and Daniel Sinclair may be deluded, but having been shown a little of his complicated brain, we are left to ponder what is real and what is imagined; what is normal, and who is insane.

With mental health seeming to emerge as an unexpected theme on this year’s Festival Fringe, this young company have made a solid contribution to the discussion.

Laughing Horse @ The Cellar Monkey (Venue 293), 15 Argyle Place, EH9 1JJ
Thursday 6 – Saturday 29 August 2015
Daily, not Tuesday, 11.15pm.
Details on the EdFringe website: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/daniel-sinclair


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