Theatre review: Collapsible, Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh

Perrys playis a troublingly realistic study of mental health issues emerging
Perrys playis a troublingly realistic study of mental health issues emerging
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Essie has put herself on a pedestal, and so has this play - literally.

Collapsible, Assembly Roxy (Venue 139) * * *

Actor Breffni Holahan performs it atop a small concrete plinth supported above the stage, only a couple of feet wide; a subtle but impressive feat in itself, in that Holahan must deliver the entire piece in more or less the same position, shifting only slightly throughout.

This physical restriction emphasises what’s essentially a straightforward monologue piece from playwright Margaret Perry, bringing a sense of precarity to the foundations upon which Essie has built her normal, satisfied, modestly ambitious life.

READ MORE: Edinburgh Festivals 2019: Top theatre picks - five of the best shows we’ve seen so far

She’s going for a new job, and has decided to solicit ideas from her friends as to what her defining characteristics are. They come back - "practical, no nonsense, feet firmly on the ground" - and she decides they could apply to almost anyone.

Her previous stability buckles; her girlfriend leaves; her job becomes unmanageable, and that goes too. Her sense of self disintegrates, and she retreats into troubled isolation. Perry’s play is a troublingly realistic study of mental health issues emerging, whose points of difference arrive both in the distinctive staging, and in the tangible moment of release through real human connection at the end.

Until 25 August

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