Here Lies Henry, Canadian company da da kamera's last Fringe offering, was one of the joys of my 1996 season. This year's two-hander is in the same vein and has the same slow-burning potency.
As the unnamed This One (Daniel MacIvor) and That One (Darren O'Donnell) act out scenes from a play in progress and argue about the dramatic development, we move slowly beyond play-within-a-play clichés. The lighting design stops differentiating so distinctly between scenes in the play and scenes from this couple's lives, giving us another level of storytelling to digest. It becomes apparent that the play is This One's way of dealing with his own life and temerament, including elements which he will not make explicit even when delivering pieces straight to the audience. Its ending manages to be both affirmative and tragic in the same moment.
Richard Feren's sound design is a thing of beauty, mixing Maria Callas, Lesley Gore and extraneous noise effects. It takes a degree of patience to accept the degree to which one is gradually allowed "in on it" over an hour's playing time, but that patience is wonderfully repaid.
Written for the Financial Times Web site, ft.com
Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.
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