1/2 Stars

Free Fall at Pleasance Theatre – 1 Star

A bridge, a woman who is desperate to jump, and an untrained bystander trying to talk her down. It makes for a good set-up, doesn’t it?

Free FallWell, it was a good set-up, but it just didn’t get much further than that. The playwright, Vinay Patel, tries to show what might bring a person to this decision; giving us an insight into the life of the suicidal Andrea through her conversation with the bridge attendant, Roland. And although Roland does a good job of pulling her back from the edge, their subsequent conversations seem unnatural, and this isn’t helped by the awkward humour that suffuses so much of this piece.

Despite Roland’s frequent references to him not being a psychiatrist that is exactly the role he plays. He listens to the failings of Andrea’s life; she’s an ex-con, a single mum, and she hates her meaningless existence working at Asda. And then, inspired by the atmosphere of confession, Roland also begins to bemoan his existence as a ‘bridge supervisor’ and as a father who is estranged from hsi son. Yes, they’re both desperate characters, but I am not moved by their plight. And, yes, the play’s subject matter has the possibility of trawling the depths of the human consciousness, but it clings very tightly to the surface.

The two actors who take on this difficult script do an admirable job of trying to shake it into life. Molly Roberts brings energy to the performance through her brash, volatile portrayal of Andrea. Equally, Maynard Eziash tries to bring some sensitivity and tenderness to Roland’s treatment of Andrea, but it’s hard to conjure up a feeling of sensitivity in your audience when the characters are watching Geordie Shore on stage in a context that seems arbitrary and is by no means funny.

There’s some good ideas at the root of this play, a good director and a trying cast, but the overall effect is disappointing.

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