Some Other Stars

Mar 16 2016 | By More

★★★☆☆      Twinkling

Traverse Theatre: Tue 15 – Sat 19 March 2016
Review by Thom Dibdin

Ghosting in under cover of darkness, Clare Duffy’s darkly questioning play into the nature of sentience opens the new season of lunchtime theatre at the Traverse by stealth.

It soon becomes clear that this darkness is Ian’s. He’s lying in a near-vegetative state following a stroke. A young-man’s stroke, indeed, a young man with a five year-old daughter and a loving wife.

Kirsten Murray in Some Other Stars by Clare Duffy. Photo: Leslie Black.

Kirsten Murray in Some Other Stars by Clare Duffy. Photo: Leslie Black.

And with Martin McCormick’s Ian caged on one side of the stage while Kirstin Murray’s Cath is fondly attentive of a body in a hospital bed on the other, Duffy soon has the tension wracking up over whether Cath – and the doctors – will realise Ian is sentient behind his stillness.

It is artfully created. Jonathan Scott’s sound design brings something of the hospital into the room, while designer Jonathan Scott’s representation of the bed-bound body, made from recycled bottles and cartons with a white board for a face, highlights its precarious existence.

The difficulty is that director Nicholas Bone wracks the tension up so high, so fast that the superbly created life-or-death jeopardy is resolved before the production has had a chance to get going. And the rest then feels more like a coda than the main event.

Which is a pity as this is so lucidly done, the caged Ian is brilliantly underplayed by Martin McCormick to bring out the sentience behind his prone inactivity.

flashes of brilliance on all levels

Kirstin Murray makes you, forces you, to believe, that this useless raggle-taggle of recycling is actually a real body. And in so doing, makes her one-sided dialogues come to life.

Between them, they do ensure that the real meat of Duffy’s script, the questioning of the nature of existence as much as whether it should exist or not, is created.

Murray, in particular, is allowed to excel in her creation of the trauma of self-doubt and of guilt surrounding those whose life partners are taken away without physically being removed. While the growing exposure of the truths of the couple’s relationship is nicely done.

There is plenty in here, with flashes of brilliance on all levels, from acting to direction to staging. It is just a bit too much and not quite cooked right to be as fully digestible as it might be for the A Play, A Pie and a Pint lunchtime format.

Running time 55 minutes (no interval)
Traverse Theatre, 10 Cambridge Street, EH1 2ED
Tuesday 15 – Saturday 19 March 2016
Lunchtimes: 1pm, Evening performance Friday 18, 7pm.
Tickets and details:


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