Developed by Broken Silence Theatre exclusively for the digital strand of this year’s Brighton Fringe, Fragments celebrates playwrights from Sussex and South-East England. The plays are linked thematically by issues of belonging and loss – a boyfriend, a hospital patient, a grandmother – and are well-defined despite the limitation of being simply voices and sound effects.
Cook’s The Search (co-directed by Cook and Kitty Evans) follows Immy (Olivia Fenton) on a walk on the South Downs on a swelteringly hot summer’s day where she uses the sights and sounds she encounters to reflect on her fears and hopes for the future. Cook’s wordplay carefully conjures up the atmosphere Immy encounters with each step, and the way her memories keep her company within a space famed both for its beauty and treachery.
In Zadow’s His Name Was Ryan (directed by Charlie Norburn), nurse Janet (Caroline Basra) has to deal with an emergency when a teenager is brought into her A&E department. This is both a problem and problematic play, considering who is on the same side and what empathy means in different situations. It is an effective piece in which Zadow mixes practicality and emotions within the working professional’s day. Moving from the clinical space and what happens there into what the role of an emergency worker is, this, for me, was the most successful of the trio of plays.
Finally, Radford’s The Woman Who Sent The Nurses Away (directed by Eilidh Gibson) we are looking back at a feisty grandmother’s life through the eyes of her granddaughter June (Efé Agwele). It is a sweet piece full of affection and knowing humour which I found particularly effective having lost a close family member in recent months. What strikes you through the grief is the offbeat moments of happy times which pop into your mind.