Razing Eddie – Underbelly 12.00pm
This is the fourth consecutive year I have seen a Horizon Arts production during the Fringe-last year they had two shows within hours of each other- and every year I do not expect them to better the previous years production and every year they do exactly that. This year is no exception to the rule and I doubt you will see a better piece of drama during this Fringe. It is an outstandingly exceptional show which runs the gauntlet of emotions leaving you breathless and exhilarated. The script by Philip Stokes is imaginative, well written and more than done justice to by the exceptionally talented cast. It really is an ensemble piece but both Aiden Ross- Billy Big Balls- and Lee Bainbridge-Eddie- are simply absorbed in their characters at every moment they are on stage.
The drama unfolds around Eddie’s arrival at his ex-girlfriend Shauna’s-Chloe Mylonas- new upmarket flat she shares with her seemingly permanently absent lover Richard. Also present are a young girl Gemma – -Jess Heritage- who although the audience recognise as a spectral presence doesn’t seem to be acknowledged by either Shauna or Eddie during their far from amicable reunion. This is about to change with the arrival of Billy as it becomes clear that both he and Gemma are both dead and function as guilt pangs in the shape of ghosts which continue to haunt the two remaining live characters.
Pretty soon all four characters are engaged in confrontation unearthing guilty secrets including sexual orientation, abortion, stabbings and previously withheld facts. Murky depths are plunged into and the arrival of Billy’s religiously devout -to a questionable cult-sister arrives into the equation and takes on the role of righteous avenging angel, picking at emotional scabs until they bleed.
The script shifts pace as revelations are revealed. One minute jocular with dark humour it gradually twists and turns like a knife into your psyche until the tension in the theatre is palpable and the silence amongst the audience is stunning in its loudness. The climactic crescendo towards the end is perfectly sound-tracked against a doom laden Spiritualized backing track which only ratchets up the tension further. The closing scene is then set against a living flame fire which, in this setting and what has preceded it, acts as a metaphor for the hell Eddie is not only going to but also caused for others whilst being mired in it himself through his own existence.
I cannot recommend this production enough and other reviews are as effusive –and deservedly so- as mine. Great writing and excellent performances conspired to ensure this show sold out in the early lunchtime slot-12pm- which is notoriously difficult to sell. The ovation the cast received at the end was the most enthusiastic I have witnessed this whole Fringe. Razing Eddie just raised the bar.