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Testament - Photo Credit to Michael Lanni

Testament, ZOO Charteris – Aviary – Review

Pros: The director conveys a consistent message using sound, lighting and movement.

Cons: The topical existential conflicts within the piece could be expanded.

Pros: The director conveys a consistent message using sound, lighting and movement. Cons: The topical existential conflicts within the piece could be expanded. After a car crash in which his girlfriend Tess (Hannah Benson) dies, Max (Nick Young) wakes up in a hospital bed with a great unresolved dilemma. His memories from a distant past blend with those from the last hours before the incident in nightmarish visions dominated by the presence of Jesus (David Anglandand) and Lucifer (Daniel Leadbitter). Haunting him with vivid hallucinations, the powers of life and death prompt him to choose between forgiving and getting over his…

Summary

Rating

Excellent

In this visually poignant drama, a survivor of a car crash is called to choose between life or death, forgiving or forgetting.

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After a car crash in which his girlfriend Tess (Hannah Benson) dies, Max (Nick Young) wakes up in a hospital bed with a great unresolved dilemma. His memories from a distant past blend with those from the last hours before the incident in nightmarish visions dominated by the presence of Jesus (David Anglandand) and Lucifer (Daniel Leadbitter). Haunting him with vivid hallucinations, the powers of life and death prompt him to choose between forgiving and getting over his grief or forgetting and finding solace in eternal silence.

With Max’s untreated head injury quickly worsening, his brother Chris (William Shackleton) – who was also in the car the night of the incident – is called upon to make a crucial decision, which involves compromising his good reputation to save his brother’s life.

Thanks to Sam Edmunds and William Patrick Harrison’s fruitful collaboration, the six members of the cast cover multiple roles with polished choreography and strong individual performances. There are some stunning visual effects that rely on a solid framework of lighting and originally electronic soundscapes. A standout moment is the opening scene in which Max’s car smashes into pieces to reappear, after a fluid collective movement, transformed into his hospital bed.

Capitalising on the quality of the writing and the smoothness of this piece, the creatives could have dug much deeper into the existential implications of their topical conflicts. Questioning brotherhood, love and the innate ability to overcome grief, they could have focused their attention on the challenges of choosing someone else’s welfare over of their own, or on the slow process of recovery from trauma.

Overall, this is an accomplished work, whose absurdist and apocalyptic nature is representative of the current visual culture and popular taste for chemically-induced psychedelic imagery. Watch out for a particularly well-crafted speech with rhyming and tempo that showcases Edmunds’s writing talent at its best.

Author: Sam Edmunds
Directors: Sam Edmunds and William Patrick Harrison
Producer: Chalk Line
Box Office: 0131 662 6892
Booking Link: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/testament
Booking Until: 27 August 2018

About Marianna Meloni

Marianna Meloni
Marianna, being Italian, has an opinion on just about everything and believes that anything deserves an honest review. Her dream has always been to become an arts critic and, after collecting a few degrees, she realised that it was easier to start writing in a foreign language than finding a job in her home country. In the UK, she tried the route of grown-up employment but soon understood that the arts and live events are highly addictive.