REVIEW: The Ebbing Hour Softsod Productions

The Ebbing Hour Review Alma Theatre Bristol:

This gripping piece of theatre takes the audience on a twisting, turning journey of truth behind the fragile mental health of two seemingly unconnected people.

‘Powerful’ was the word which pinballed through the audience during the interval and collectively, they were right.

One woman attempts to work through difficulties with her therapist, one to which she says she’s not going to give a 5 star online review.

A man out to watch the sunset encounters a suicidal stranger and tries to talk him down from a high ledge.

Writer David Martin tangles a dark web, writing with an authentic, knowing voice. It’s not all bleak as he throws in patches of dark humour – accurate professional condescension, a hint of Attachment Theory and fast-flowing self-deprecating introspection.

Rosie Closs admirably tackles some really difficult material which is deflected at all the right points by director Jacqs Graham, before it becomes overwhelming.

James Locke and Nico Smith, battle out a cliff-edge physical and psychological battle for survival which could topple at any second. Quite an amount of tension to sustain through two 45 minute acts.

There are clues dropped throughout. I’d sussed out who Man Y was before the interval, probably because a lot of these themes are ones that affect so many families in Bristol and the writing absolutely nailed it.

The cutting out of chains of paper people was another inspired moment, taking a passing statistic and making it something tangible and horrific.

David Martin’s Therapist had clearly come straight from a CAMHS session. Quite nice but chronically wishy washy and somewhat annoyingly unhelpful to young people needing urgent practical interventions instead of the endless question to a question response. This made the butterfly story a lovely moment.

The final performance at The Alma Theatre this evening is sold out. But, there is still some availability for The Dolman Theatre in Newport, at which The Ebbing Hour will be playing on 25 and 26 April 2019.

This was a great piece of theatre. In terms of subject content, it was bang on the money and both skilfully and sensitively performed.

For more information about the company and future performances, visit:http://www.softsod.com