The Pleasance are pioneers in new writing and staging wonderful productions. The Rip Current, a debut piece written by Molly Keating, featured at the Pleasance, which in itself, should be an achievement for these early career artists.
The Rip Current sees the story of Jamie as he attends Cambridge University, all the way from Scotland. But it doesn’t turn out to be everything he had worked hard for. He begins to feel disconnected to life and it leads to him delving into his past, asking the questions he longed to ask about his estranged father and finding out who he really is.
For a first production at fringe, The Rip Current is a good start to what could be a fantastic production. The concepts of growing up, of discovering your past and who you are, to family, domestic violence, Scottish culture are all great combinations and highlight many a relatable issue.
The performers clearly put their heart and soul into their characters and did well to portray with believable emotion what was needed from them for the story line. Not one broke character and therefore created extremely believable scenes and relationships.
However, this production felt as if it was still in an infant stage. This isn’t to criticise or to say that this production wasn’t any good, because it was, but it still felt as if it needed some tweaking and working on, as all great productions do in their development till they reach ultimate success. The performers perhaps focussed too much on the sheer painful emotions and so lost a little of the different emotional levels that could be experienced within naturalism.
They also made the mistake that we all do at some point in theatre of relying heavily on set and props. Much of what was put on stage seemed to function more as a way for performers to keep their hands busy, when it wasn’t necessarily needed or added to the plot. Taking away some and filling those voids with confidence in their characters and performance would avoid distraction for the audience but also help with their character and story development.
The Rip Current is very much a great starting point for this young company. All the elements are there and it is in great shape for a first production. With continued work, this production could prove to be something quite special.