Wreckage at Location 26, Summer Hall Red Conference Room

This piece is a time hopper, jumping from one year to the next: technically it takes place in chronological order, but there are so many flashbacks to earlier eras that the plot overall becomes more convoluted than ‘She shouldn’t be, especially since there is a deep and meaningful relationship. which both somewhat oddly and quite understandably continues beyond the grave. Sam (Tom Ratcliffe) begins by revealing his clumsy nature, and Noel (Michael Walters) steps in to save the day. His decision to be kind and helpful, however, results in the show’s critical incident. What a surprise (no), neither of the two men is ever the same again.

Both characters, in their own way, get rather overemotional, with loud moans echoing around the auditorium for so long at one point that the law of diminishing returns began to kick in. Perhaps that’s what the production was looking for, an attention-seeking depiction of crocodile tears that show just how unstable someone used to going their own way can be. It wasn’t meant to be fun, I don’t think, but I honestly struggled to keep a straight face as Noel threw a tantrum at Sam removing ivy from their property. Talk about first world problems.

It’s not all meaningless – the angst and frustration is justified when Sam’s family will only recognize Noel as a “friend” and not her fiancé, for example, and there’s more annoyance when he’s revealed that their relationship hasn’t been entirely exclusive. Let’s just say there are repeated references to an off-stage character called Matt. Later, Walters takes a third character on stage, Christian, and switches between him and Noel very convincingly.

The use of still images and video projected onto a large screen enriched the performance, as did the marking of each segment of the story with a timeline showing the audience how much time elapsed between scenes. There were times when I wished the show would speed up, which it eventually does, but go the other way and go through twenty-one years or so in what felt like twenty-one seconds.

The interaction between Sam and Noel is quite natural – there’s stage chemistry, if you will. The play offers an in-depth look at loss and grief, as well as a hopeful (if contrived) conclusion that things will usually end up being okay.

3 star reviews

Comment by Chris Omaweng

Wreckage is a new original one-act drama about love and loss. It tells the beautiful story of Sam, played by Tom Ratcliffe (Velvet, Sket, 5 Guys Chillin’) and his fiancé Noel, played by West End star Michael Walters (Steve, The Inheritance, Death of a Salesman).

CAST
Tom Ratcliffe (he/him)
Michael Walters (he/him)
CREATIVES
Writer / Actor – Tom Ratcliffe (he/him)
Director & Designer – Rikki Beadle-Blair MBE, (he/him)
Lighting designer – Rachel Sampley (her)
Sound designer – Mwen
Casting Director – Nadine Rennie
Producer – Rory Davies (he/him) for Harlow Playhouse

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Debris
From Wednesday August 3 to Sunday August 28, 2022
By Tom Ratcliffe
Location 26, Summer Room
RED CONFERENCE THEATER
1 Summerhall, Edinburgh, EH9 1PL

Angela C. Hale