Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Jay (Stefan Race) is an anorexic, admitted to Riverdale Inpatient Unit because he refuses to eat and is so weak he needs to use a wheelchair. There, he meets Molly (Madeleine Day), a long-term resident, charmingly exuberant in the manic phase of her bipolar cycle.
Paradise in the Vault (Venue 29)
But this is not a love story, it’s a story of a friendship which blossoms in difficult circumstances.
This short play written and directed by Evangeline Osbon (who also performs) deals sensitively and imaginatively with the issues around mental health. The cast of five, all students and recent graduates from the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts (ALRA), approach the material with energy, skill and compassion.
In a short space of time, they manage to successfully convey the complexities of a unit like Riverdale, where staff are bound by regulations, procedures and care-plans, but are also capable of humanity and, often, kindness. Day and Race give outstanding performances as Molly and Jay, two ordinary young people who find themselves battling extraordinary illnesses, offering hope while remaining realistic about the likelihood of full recovery.
Until 12 August. Today 5.15pm.