There but for the grace of God is a phrase that springs to mind as writer and performer Damien Engelhardt is reaching the dramatic conclusion of Unmeetables. Because what the show ultimately seems to say is that it’s the small moments, the lucky (or unlucky) breaks, the having the right support just when you need it, it’s all that and more that can define us and the lives we have. And because of this, we should not be so unforgiving or judgemental on those not quite so fortunate. But before we can reach that conclusion, there is a whole journey to travel so meet the villain/ hero of the piece, David Hughes.
David is successful, suave, rich, incredibly annoying and who, as a young man, had the good fortune that his dad was a lawyer just when he needed one. Now David is fund raising at his own charity gala, doing his part to support the unmeetables. It’s all very clear he is doing it because that’s what rich people do to show how amazing they are, but deep down, well, he really doesn’t really care for anyone too much, especially the unmeetables. And just to drum home that point, as he presents to his gala audience, he has little moments of inner dialogue where he says what he really thinks, when his true face is revealed.
Having decided (meaning dug himself into a hole he couldn’t get out of) he should meet one of these unmeetables, David heads to the streets, obviously taking along a film crew to document his great work and compassion. It’s here he slowly reveals more about himself, his childhood, the lucky breaks he had whilst others around him weren’t so lucky. Again, there but for the grace of God… It’s now that the unmeetables slowly begin to become real to him, as finally this man who seemed to have no heart, no soul, realises they are human, just like him and us in so many ways. “Why is this allowed to happen to someone? A real person.” It’s a phrase that needs to be shouted, to be repeated, to be heard by those who cannot see the person, only the begging bowl.
Unmeetables clearly leaves an effect on its audience by the end. As we filter out so many people stop to say not “well done”, but rather “thank you”, because the message of this play is important, I doubt anyone in the audience today would disagree.
Written, directed and produced by: Damien Engelhardt
Booking link: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/unmeetables
Booking until: 18 August 2019