City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

The Sound of my Voice Review

By Irene Brown - Posted on 21 August 2009

Show details
Assembly Rooms
Citizens Theatre
Running time: 
Ron Butlin (novel), Jeremy Raisin (adapter and director), Jason Southgaite (designer), Graham Sutherland (sound and lighting designer) , Laura Smith, (technical stage manager), Citizens Theatre Worshop (costume and scenery)
Billy Mack, Michele Gallagher

It's great to have the Glasgow's Citizens Theatre back at the Fringe with this play based on a novel by Edinburgh's Makar, Ron Butlin. It is the story of a successful executive in a biscuit company, Morris Magellan, who has a suburban middle class lifestyle, complete with wife and weans, but who is a chronic alcoholic.

The play shows his struggle and agony to retain a daily semblance of normality; the manic performance of making breakfast, as if this, the most important meal of the day, will somehow make everything all right. The strain of lying and playing a role while being propped up by an astonishing amount of alcohol inevitably leads to disintegration. His past is vividly in his present, but he maintains a Jekyll and Hyde existence always with the love and understanding of his wife. Eventually these separate lives blend and he finally goes back to being a child when he starts to take the infant steps of withdrawing from his addiction.

In keeping with the unusual narrative style of the novel, the play is told in second person. As the lines are delivered, there is a sense that the character is at some level acutely aware of his actions with ‘every moment you've ever lived' playing with his pickled brain.

Billy Mack gives a fierce, committed performance from the man so alive to senses and colours it seems amazing he needs his poisonous prop, to a brave but frightened man taking one step at a time in first day of his life. Michele Gallagher slips easily, without the aid of costume or props, from wife to child to male colleague to secretary. The timing of the sound effects and lighting in this stark production is apt and excellent. The handing out of custard creams before the performance is nice touch of Glasgow levity before this dark, poignant play.

The Sound of my Voice is part of the Fringe's Made in Scotland showcase.

Times: 6-30 August, 3.20pm