Theatre review: One Elliot Park, Edinburgh Malmaison

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LOCAL production company Siege Perilous has picked a real winner with One Elliot Park. The play, by new writer, Edinburgh-based Lindsay Miller, had the audience shrinking in their seats – for all the right reasons.

It starts simply enough, with a burglary in a block of flats. It seems like no more than an engaging mystery as the occupants discuss the event. A police inquiry follows in which we see the characters as they really are – or so we think.

However, the unfolding investigation is observed by the mysterious Chloe (Lily Carrie) who, while being the main suspect, becomes convinced that the events are part of a conspiracy aimed at her. Is she watching the neighbours or is it the other way around?

Intriguing and unsettling enough, but from there the story slips into something much darker, becoming increasingly sinister before descending into an endgame which is one of the most terrifying stage spectacles you are ever likely to encounter.

If it’s not delivered well, theatre ‘horror’ can easily become pantomime. Not so with this production. As you gradually appreciate what is actually happening, you are carried along with Chloe’s descent into menacing madness where nothing is as it seems.

The production is greatly enhanced by the clever use of light, sound and music which at no point intrudes into the consciousness of the audience. The same is true of a simple set that is used imaginatively to seamlessly change scenes and mood. But the real value of the play is in the feverish closing scene, with a cast who demonstrate a choreography that’s tighter than a rusted wingnut.

The psychological nuances and the visual stimulation as the threads of the mystery are drawn together is something that will stay with you for a long time after the cast has left the stage.

Cleverly written and perfectly delivered by a cast with more talent that is reasonable, this is a remarkable production. The story and the characters demand your attention from the outset, then take you into a dark place that is brutally shocking, yet unbelievably entertaining.

Rating: ****