Theatre review: Allison After A Fire

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Inspired by wildfires that decimated parts of Colorado in 2012, this intimate, low-key drama follows the attempts of nature conservationist Allison (Isabella Marie Egizi) to come to terms with her losses.

Star rating: ***

Venue: Greenside @ Infirmary Street (Venue 236)

As her partner (James Ryan Dinneen, who also writes and directs) tries to get things back on track, itemising insurance claims and picking up prescription medicines and staying relentlessly upbeat, Allison grieves, remembering the birds of prey she worked with and the father who introduced her to them. Performance and production-wise, everything works well, with convincing, human performances from Egizi and Dinneen. Even the sparse staging – comprising a series of tall, thin floor lamps – effectively conveys both the emptiness in Allison’s life and the burnt-out, lifeless tree trunks of the forest.

Yet something in the script just doesn’t click. The details of Allison’s background and character are revealed piecemeal, so while it’s both believable and understandable to watch her being grumpy, downbeat and determinedly sad, it makes her difficult company to be around for someone we’ve just met. The flashbacks too are initially oblique – again, all is revealed in the end, but that initial sense of alienation leaves you somewhat disconnected and always playing catch-up.

Until 27 August. Today 10:05pm.

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