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Wreckage at Venue 26, Summer Hall Red Lecture Theatre

This play is a time-hopper, flitting between years: technically it unfolds in forward chronological order, but there are so many flashbacks to earlier times that the plot overall becomes more complicated than it needs to be, especially as there’s a deep and meaningful relationship that both somewhat strangely and entirely understandably continues beyond the grave. Sam (Tom Ratcliffe) begins by revealing his clumsy nature, and Noel (Michael Walters) steps in to save the day. His decision to be nice and helpful, however, results in the show’s critical incident. Quelle surprise (not), neither man is ever the same again.

WreckageBoth characters, in their own ways, get rather overemotional, with loud wailing reverberating around the auditorium for so long at one point the law of diminishing returns started to kick in. Perhaps that’s what the production was going for, a portrayal of attention-seeking crocodile tears that demonstrate how fickle someone used to getting their own way can be. It wasn’t meant to be amusing, I don’t think, but I frankly struggled to keep a straight face as Noel threw a tantrum at Sam removing ivy from their property. Talk about first-world problems.

It’s not all vacuous – the angst and frustration are justified when Sam’s family will only acknowledge Noel as a ‘friend’ and not his fiancé, for instance, and there’s more unpleasantness when it’s revealed their relationship hasn’t been entirely exclusive. Let’s just say there are repeated references to an off-stage character called Matt. Later, Walters takes on a third on-stage character, Christian, and switches between him and Noel highly convincingly.

The use of still images and videos projected onto a large screen enhanced the performance, as did the marking of each segment of the story by way of a calendar telling the audience how much time has passed between scenes. There were times when I wished the show would pick up the pace, which it does eventually, but goes the other way and breezes through twenty-one years or thereabouts in what felt like twenty-one seconds.

The interaction between Sam and Noel is quite natural – there’s stage chemistry, if you will. The play provides an in-depth look at loss and bereavement, as well as a hopeful (if contrived) conclusion that things will generally turn out okay in the end.

3 Star Review

Review by Chris Omaweng

Wreckage is a one-act new original drama about love and loss. It tells the beautiful story of Sam, played by Tom Ratcliffe (Velvet, Sket, 5 Guys Chillin’) and his fiancé Noel, played by west end star Michael Walters (Steve, The Inheritance, Death of a Salesman).

CAST
Tom Ratcliffe (he/him)
Michael Walters (he/him)
CREATIVES
Writer / Actor – Tom Ratcliffe (he/him)
Director & Designer – Rikki Beadle-Blair MBE, (he/him)
Lighting Designer – Rachel Sampley (she/her)
Sound Designer – Mwen
Casting Director – Nadine Rennie
Producer – Rory Davies (he/him) for Harlow Playhouse

Listings
Wreckage
Wednesday 3rd August – Sunday 28th August 2022
By Tom Ratcliffe
Venue 26, Summer Hall
RED LECTURE THEATRE
1 Summerhall, Edinburgh, EH9 1PL

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Author

1 thought on “Wreckage at Venue 26, Summer Hall Red Lecture Theatre”

  1. I don’t know what you watched, but anything less than 5* for this show is frankly a miscalculation…

    Theatre may be subjective, but my dear, your review is bonkers.

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