City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

The Silent Treatment, Traverse Theatre, Review

By Bill Dunlop - Posted on 08 April 2016

Silent Treatment  - Lung Ha.jpg
Show Details
Traverse Theatre
Lung Ha Theatre Company
Douglas Maxwell (writer), Maria Oller (director), Jessica Brettle (set designer), Malcolm Rogan (lighting designer), Michael John McCarthy (composer and sound designer)
Kay Ann Jacobs (Kitty), Keith Watson (Reynold), Fiona McDougall (Lauren), Kenneth Ainslie (Toby), Emma McCaffrey (Alice), Alan Simpson (Hutchy), Leigh Flynn (Eleanor), Emma Clark (Stacey), Nicola Tuxworth (Billie), Stephen Tait (Arthur), Kristopher Anderson (JJ), John Edgar (Baxter)
Running time: 

There’s something of a pun in the title of this play by Douglas Maxwell for Lung Ha Theatre Company, although it’s not immediately obvious when the lights go up on what might be a school assembly hall or community centre.

Almost all the cast are on stage as the play opens, taking part in a sponsored silence, broken abruptly by Billie (Nicola Tuxworth). The silence is taking place to benefit Billie’s Mum, but a moment’s spontaneous civility disqualifies Billie, who plots a form of revenge for her own exclusion.

It’s this, amongst several other disruptions, that bowls The Silent Treatment along at a fair old lick, a challenge the company rise to magnificently, avoiding disqualification for communication by cunning and creative mimes, mouthing and gestures, all beautifully interpreted for us by the cast.

Billie continues to stage-manage (in this case in an almost literal sense) the problems created for the remaining participants, while a team of builders add their own brand of mayhem to the proceedings.

The Silent Treatment is unquestionably a comedy, however, and after general confusion comes reconciliation and a happy ending.

Malcolm Rogan’s lighting design moves us from the starkness of strip lighting to the shades of night, rapidly or subtly, but always sensitive to the moods and pace of the play, while Michael John McCarthy’s score always complements and never dominates what’s going on on stage.

Maria Oller’s direction allows the cast to breathe vibrant life into their various characters, in the best sense of the word enabling them to achieve their obvious full potential.

As a result, The Silent Treatment is clearly a happy ship, one any audience ought to be delighted to sail with.

Till 9th April