Ditch Digger is a real gem. It’s unadulterated charm stems from two excellent actors, an interesting script, a very simple set and a clever use of lighting and sound.
Nathan Osgood’s autobiographic play is thought-provoking in a quiet kind of way and gives the audience the freedom to make its own conclusions. He truly deserves praise for this unpretentious and warm piece which explores deep issues of identity, reality and belonging without pomp.
Stuart Mackie, as Ashley and the young Frank, and Osgood, as the older Frank, form a likeable pair who really gel on stage and form a perfect cast. They are real, funny, vulnerable and easy to relate to.
There are no distractions from the duo’s performance as the play is set in an empty desert, where the two Franks are attempting to hitch a lift. Lights and sound, which includes the booming voice of actor Ed Bishop, are used brilliantly, making the use of actual props largely redundant.
The intimate cellar studio lends itself well for this production although the location is also my sole source of criticism – the wonderful atmosphere was broken for several minutes when a production running in the studio above got particularly noisy.