Theatre review: Beyond: Sugar Mice, Paradise in Augustines, Edinburgh

This is a terrific little play with an unaffected story on the fear of friendlessness, and a pivotal performance by Fay Barker in an impressively real portrait of lonely shyness, whose skill steals on us gently.

The moving, unpretentious tale of orphan Al
The moving, unpretentious tale of orphan Al

Beyond: Sugar Mice, Paradise in Augustines (Venue 152) * * *

Al, a data-entry worker only intent on being invisible at work, has carried home a mouse she found in a railway station: the creature becomes her inner voice, a conversation with herself.

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Tash Tudor is rambunctious and funny in the part, though perhaps more sophisticated lighting and tradecraft might have made the audience feel the illusion of mouse-human a little more easily. There’s a lovely flow to Hector McCormick’s writing; sweetly sad, not over-analytical, unafraid of humour and uplifting too.

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One encounter, with an elderly man, brings home Al’s vision of lonely old age, an isolated death; but Buzz, Ianthe Bathurst, dangles a dose of hope after a charming first encounter in a pub. Maybe it was one of those Fringe mornings, but with Guilia Hallworth as Anderson, Al’s thoroughly inconsistent boss, this unpretentious tale of orphan Al took me to tears.

Until 16 August.