Paul T Davies reviews the Traverse Theatre’s Five From Inside, a series of five monologues by Rona Munro which have been rehearsed in isolation and are now available to watch online.
Five From Inside.
The Traverse Theatre online.
Date: When you press play.
Like many people, despite the chaos and overwhelming feelings it can produce, I will miss being at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year. One of my favourite venues, since my first visit in the 1980s, is The Traverse Theatre, and they have just put Five From Inside – a collection of monologues online to remind us all of why it is such a powerhouse of new writing. On the 15th April, they were due to premier Donny’s Brian by Rona Monro, directed by Caitlin Skinner, and now the playwright has scripted new monologues which the cast have rehearsed in lockdown, directed by Skinner. The result is an extraordinary collection of monologues, benefitting hugely from the intimacy the camera can give us, and each with a distinct feel and atmosphere.
In Jacob, the character speaks to us from inside prison, and the performance by Bhav Joshi takes us immediately into an emotional world of sibling rivalry, regrets and threats. It’s a beautiful performance of emotional intensity, and I was gripped throughout. Fern, performed by Lauren Grace, almost speaks directly to those of us slowly climbing the walls! Fern is looking for a way to colour her moods, and crayons are an essential part of her survival kit in this warm, funny and moving monologue. The third monologue, Mr. Bubbles, really does explore the tears of a clown, and perfectly pitched in the area between comedy and pain by actor Michael Dylan, recovering from a live incident that went wrong. It deals with bullying, and his split personality performance is funny and sensitive. In Siobhan, she has won an award for designing a toothbrush, but as she isn’t at the ceremony, her paranoia of being not being acknowledged takes over, and Roanna Davidson skillfully takes us on a journey that creates some beautiful Beckett like imagery at the conclusion. The fifth piece, Clemmy, has a touch of Blood Brothers about it, but Suzanne Magowan makes the slightly fantastical story real, performing a confessional to her daughter, spoken by the clothes horse of everyday life.
Watch them individually or as whole sequence, which I did, (My star rating is for the experience overall, not for individual monologues), and enjoy scripts of intimacy and variety, and look forward to seeing live theatre at The Traverse as soon as possible.