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Thrown review at Underbelly Cowgate – ‘stylish set-up let down by a weak script’

Thrown at Underbelly Cowgate, Edinburgh
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This is so frustrating. Living Record Productions’ Thrown has one of the coolest set-ups of any show in Edinburgh – a binaural microphone piping performer Jill Rutland’s whispered words into the audience’s ears via headphones – but Jodi Gray’s script isn’t quite up to scratch. The content doesn’t match the concept here.

There’s more than a hint of Simon McBurney’s The Encounter here – and that’s no bad thing. In a darkened space lit only by shallow shafts of golden light, Rutland stands before a head-shaped microphone on a stick. We all wear headphones; when she talks in the head’s ear, she talks in ours.

It’s a highly effective, hiccup-free design, engendering a rare, electronically-enhanced intimacy. Thrown ends up disappointing, though, because although Rutland performs with a compelling, scatter-brained febrility, there’s just not enough in Gray’s play to get a handle on.

Developed partly from interviews with older people, it’s a hazy, half-formed thing, swimming in memory and meditating on formative experiences in childhood, on regrets, and the narratives we shape our lives by.

This piece undoubtedly has depth, but it’s too abstract, too expressionistic to allow the audience to explore that, and its promising premise is squandered.

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Verdict
A one-woman play experienced via headphones that squanders its stylish set-up
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