Thursday, October 6

Vermin – Gilded Balloon Teviot

Rats in your home – instantly this subject creates a feeling of uneasiness, uncleanliness, thoughts of scratching noises, thoughts of them nibbling your food in your store cupboards.  This play uses this uneasiness and builds upon it.  I will explain… 

Bill (Benny Ainsworth) and Rachel (Sally Paffett) met on a train journey, in which they both witnessed a dramatic event.  From this initial acquaintance grew a relationship which ended in wedding bells, but there ends any form of normality.

After moving into their new home, the couple found out that Rachel was pregnant, but also realised that their new home was infested with rats.  They heard them scratching, the smell was awful, and Bill began the process of attempting to exterminate them.  Rats are clever little creatures though, and the usual methods of traps and poisoning did not work.  This added pressure on to Rachel and Bill’s relationship which meant that they were arguing and not entirely seeing eye-to-eye on the rat situation.  As time went on and these cunning furry creatures still shared their home, matters took a turn for the worse, when Bill decided, he was going to try other methods to rid their home of the infestation.

Without giving away any more of the plot, the play examines the couple’s relationship and how well did they really know each other when they married?  Also, how stress within relationships affects people differently and how people cope differently with grief. 

This play is delivered in a very clever way, as it breaks down the fourth wall with eye contact, which is used to draw the viewer into the mind of the characters.  As an audience member, we are so used to being a passive observer, that this connection creates a bond with the performers, and heightens the shock felt when anything dramatic occurs in the play.  The intimate nature of the venue helps with this, as the actors are close in proximity to the audience.  The overall effect is one of travelling on a mutual journey along the road of the play.

If you are visiting Edinburgh Fringe Festival, then I would suggest that you add this show to your schedule.  It offers a different approach to performance in which I observed, brought out visible reactions from the audience.  Triptych Theatre Company also have another play at the festival called An Audience With Stuart Bagcliffe which this reviewer has not seen, but which may also be worth a look.

This show runs until the 28th August at the Gilded Balloon Teviot (The Balcony) and you can buy tickets by following this link – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on#q=%22Vermin%22

Reviewer: Caroline Worswick

Reviewed: 14th August 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★

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