Chalk Line Theatre’s production of The Nobodies was a huge hit at The Vault Festival 2020, and was set to transfer to the Edinburgh Frestival Fringe last summer. Finally, a year later, following the Fringe’s enforced cancellation, they have now had the chance to perform at the Pleasance.
The Nobodies is written by Amy Guyler, and co-directed by Sam Edmunds and Vikesh Godhwani. It is set in one of those Nirthern towns decimated by the policies of Thatcherite Britain and the miners’ strikes.
Three characters: a healthcare assistant, Rhea (Lucy Simpson); the son of a patient dying from cancer (Joseph Reed); and a homeless man, Curtis (David Angland) find themselves in an uneasy alliance when trying to prevent the closure of the local hospital.
As a tragic accident coincidentally helps their cause, “The Nobodies” head out on the road to blackmail and resistance, targeting those who have a direct interest in the hospital’s fate. These vignettes are the least interesting and effective parts of the play (all politicians and council officials cannot really be classed as posh and corrupt, and here they are somewhat one-dimensional).
What really makes The Nobodies a success are the powerful set of performances from the three cast members, who throw themselves into the action; a mix of movement, mime, words. Often they say lines together, or join forces physically as one dynamic body as they follow the same principles and ideas.
The energy bursts off the screen as their uneasy alliance starts to become something far more. The lighting and sound design (by Alan Walden and Mekel Edwards respectively) enhances both comedic and dramatic scenes, and give the play an urgent pace with a strong sense of scale.
Fringe rating: ****
The Nobodies livestreamed on scheduled dates during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe on the Pleasance Online platform; I watched on 28 August 2021.For more on Chalk Line Theatre, go to their website.