No Miracles Here review at Summerhall, Edinburgh – ‘unusual and engaging’

No Miracles Here at Summerhall. Photo: Topher McGrillis No Miracles Here at Summerhall. Photo: Topher McGrillis
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Plays about mental health issues may be ubiquitous at the Fringe but No Miracles Here adopts such an unusual and engaging approach to the subject that it’s difficult not to sit up and take notice. Ray seems to be a well adjusted young man, but nobody can see the black dog that is nipping at his heels.

Intent on ending his life, Ray decides upon a dance marathon, as his father has told him how people die at these competitions. Ray enters and his struggle to compete becomes a metaphor for survival.

Devised by The Letter Room, a theatre company from the North East, Ray’s story unfolds as a gig, with all of the actors forming the band. The catchy original numbers by the company and composer Jeremy Bradfield may not be especially narrative, but they illustrate each step of Ray’s journey and reflect the mood, occasionally with a mantra of positivity.

Stan Hodgson’s winning portrayal of the vulnerable Ray sketches out the sense of isolation depression can inflict, nurtured by support and occasional conflict with other members of the band. No Miracles Here doesn’t begin to suggest a cure but it does remind us that the longer you dance, the easier you’ll find the choreography.

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Thoughtfully crafted musical metaphor on depression