MEDIOCRE WHITE MALE by Will Close and Joe von Malachowski. ★★★★★

Still feeling completely blown away by this and have attempted to write my thoughts down a few times but seem to drift back to mulling over how to express it all. Here goes…

Will Close enters the space dressed in medieval attire and when the lights come up he delivers an intentionally rehearsed speech as the character he has grudgingly devoted the last 10 years of his life to playing. This, however, is not a character for the stage or screen, but rather one that is contained within the walls of Wiltshire Castle – a ghostly ancient statue that he brings to life to guide tourists around the grounds.

He talks openly and frankly but is regularly interrupted by a flicker of light that tells him to snap into role and deliver his lines to castle visitors passing by. The repeated interruptions cleverly jar us out of several moments where he is on the cusp of revealing too much too early. Close’s performance, (outside of his deliberate segments in his medieval role) is natural and authentic. He chats to us freely, pausing to reflect on his life choices, cracking jokes and bantering about various topics often with dark and intentionally questionable connotations and expressing a permanent feeling of aloneness that he can’t seem to shake.

We quickly realise he isn’t speaking to us, he’s speaking to an ex-girlfriend whose funeral he has attended just days before. As he starts to delve into his recollections of the relationship, he uncovers various details that suddenly shift the tone and pierce the atmosphere with an unsettling force. Without giving too much away, we are confronted with one side to a story that is crying out for understanding, but the reality sits on the other side of the story which although we never hear directly, we know is where a disturbing truth lies. This is a piece will stay firmly on your mind.

On until Sunday 15th August so go go get your tickets. Assembly Roxy, 2 Roxburgh Place, Edinburgh, EH8 9SU. Venue 139. 6pm. £13 / £12 concessions. Tickets available here.

Warnings and additional info: Contains distressing themes, strong language/swearing.

Photo by The Other Richard.

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