Aug 21 2018 | By More

★★★★☆   Powerful monologues

Bedlam Theatre (Venue 49): Mon 20– Mon 27 Aug 2018
Review by Hugh Simpson

There is a confidence and spirit to Eight, at the Bedlam, that makes for highly successful theatre.

Ella Hickson, recently seen at the Book Festival, wrote the Carol Tambor Award-winning Eight for the Bedlam in 2008 at the beginning of her career. It has now been revived by Edinburgh University Theatre Company, in a production that shows there is plenty of talent still around capable of following in Hickson’s footsteps.

Eight EUTC EdFringe 2018 Bedlam Theatre Esmee Cook. Pic Connor O'Sullivan

Esmee Cook. Pic Connor O’Sullivan

The premise of the play is a simple and elegant one – eight monologues spoken by eight young people, with four of them performed at each performance. Originally the choice was done by an onstage vote; nowadays, an online poll determines those who are to speak. All eight actors remain on stage throughout, however, in another clever device which Hickson said was to show that every choice also leaves something behind.

It does mean that half the cast do not get their chance – Callie Stylianou, Alex Khosla, Callum Pope and Sara Harvey being the unlucky ones on this occasion.

Those who did perform were extremely impressive. Esmee Cook’s apparently bumptious but frighteningly brittle call girl, wedded to outdated notions of social class, is perhaps the most successful, achieving layers of humour and sadness in a very short time.

The nature of the play means that the actors are very exposed, having only minutes to work with and no-one else to rely on. Isaac Allen’s vulnerable ex-squaddie mortuary attendant takes a while to settle down, but by the end has considerable pathos.


Megan Lambie’s struggling Edinburgh single mother also has genuine emotion, in a beautifully constructed and quietly angry piece that is perhaps the best writing in the show. Will Peppercorn’s teenager besotted with an older woman provides contrast with some well realised comic physicality.

Occasional hints of self-consciousness do surface, but these are largely convincing performances which co-directors Eilidh Northridge and Lucy Davidson have elicited. The direction is also extremely confident in its use of the acting area and the way the whole production bowls along, seemingly over in a flash.

The set up does mean that you could go several times and see a different production each time; certainly, this is well worth seeing at least once.

Running time 55 minutes (no interval)
Bedlam Theatre (Venue 49), 11b Bristo Place, EH1 1EZ
Monday 20 – Monday 27 August 2018
Daily at 2.00 pm.
Book tickets on the Fringe website: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/eight-1
Voting website: https://eightfringe.wixsite.com/vote
Bedlam Facebook: @bedlamtheatre.ed


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,