Eight @ The 13th Note
Eight, penned by Ella Hickson, premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2008 and won the Scotsman Fringe First award, the Carol Tambor award, and the NSDF Emerging Artists award. It is a set of monologues (no prizes for guessing how many) with no underlying narrative, in which eight strange and wonderful individuals lay bare their inner environments to express their feelings on the implications of their experiences of contemporary life.
2 Theatre dust off this accomplished warhorse and send it back into action with powerful performances form Francine Burns, who shows a great range of emotion even within a single monologue, and Joe Johnson, an extemely capable actor with impeccable timing and a flare for accents. Direction from Torya Williams spices the piece with satisfying kinetic motion. The use of characters who are spoken of but not heard from within the script adds some emotion to flashback recapitulations of moments passed.
The landscape is varied, and the humour won't fool you - there's some real content here! As with any compilation one can't help but favour certain exerpts over others. Joe Johnson has the better share of the eight scripts, although each has more than adequate opportunity to shine their own light through excellent writing: Francine, at the very beginning of the piece, expresses the power-versus-guilt struggle of a woman returning home after an act of infidelity; Joe has a stunning piece about a young man's infatuation with on older woman whilst spending his summer away from home in France.