Leave a Message

04/08/19

Gilded Balloon (Patter Hoose), Edinburgh

Ed (Ed Coleman) arrives at the flat of his recently deceased father, Nicholas. He’s been saddled with the thankless task of clearing the place out. Luckily for him, he’s soon joined by his close friend, Sarah (Eleanor Fanyinka), who makes valiant attempts to jolly him through the process, but it’s no easy matter. Nicholas was a loner, who walked out on his marriage years ago, and has been estranged from his son ever since.

Poking through the paperwork, Ed discovers several references to Linda (Denise Stephenson) and begins to realise that there are things about his father he doesn’t know – and that the two of them might have more in common than he wants to accept. So he calls Linda and invites her over for a heart-to-heart.

Co-written by Coleman and James Mitchell,  Leave a Message positively crackles with taut, witty dialogue, coaxing plenty of laughs out of what could so easily be a maudlin tale of self-destruction. Indeed, the scene where Ed and Sarah cavort through the rubbish-strewn apartment to the strains of A-Ha’s Take On Me comes close to being downright joyful. The performances are uniformly engaging, the actors breathing real life into their respective characters. These feel suspiciously like real people.

If you’re looking for sharp insightful writing and assured acting, then this is a perfect place to look. Go, enjoy this and tell all your friends.

Leave a Message is a cracker.

4.5 stars

Philip Caveney

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