Edinburgh Festival Fringe: She’s a cool, calm and competent police officer with a troubled past who finds it difficult to show her emotions: the kind of character who wouldn’t be out of place in a BBC drama that thinks it’s being innovative for casting a women in a lead role.
Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33)
However, writer-performer Nicola Wren’s nameless lead, which she plays with beautiful understatement and empathy, is also likable and down-to-earth, pragmatic and capable – a true-to-life kind of heroine. When her sergeant gives her an appraisal, the only feedback she gets is to “be herself” more.
Produced by DugOut Theatre, the piece has the stripped-back feel that comes with a one-woman show and less of the raucous, high-octane energy that the popular Fringe company’s fanbase may have come to expect – although they seem happy enough to swap shrieking with laughter for shedding the odd tear.
Because beneath the career-focused pragmatism of our narrator is an inability to get over past tragedy. As she retraces the steps of her childhood across London, the piece also turns into a touching, if sometimes nostalgia-filled, celebration of sibling relationships and how compassion and empathy – often derided for being “sappy” or “soft” – are both real skills and a vital part of policing.
Until 28 August. Today 2:15pm.