Renowned, multi-award-winning physical theatre company Spies Like Us (Our Man in Havana, Woyzeck, Murder on the Dancefloor) return to Edinburgh with Speed Dial, an explosively physical comedy-thriller about connection, forgiveness and cryptic crosswords. Set to the sounds of 70s vinyl, this new production explores isolation and the institution of British universities.
Amongst the spires, spikes and sideburns of a 1970s university, a lonely Professor waits for a call. When he’s chased by the ringing of every passing phone, an ominous voice sets a series of mysterious puzzles that stand between him and his missing daughter. Dodgy Deans, grumbling Groundskeepers and swotty students are all suspects as the Professor capers across campus to uncover whodunnit and why.
Performed by a five-strong ensemble, Speed Dial combines old-fashioned rotary telephones and a multifunctioning door and desk with Spies Like Us’ trademark playful physicality and inventiveness. Focusing on themes of isolation and the notion that ease of communication can sometimes paralyse us, Spies Like Us use the trust and partnerships in their ensemble to interrogate the importance of human connection.
Writer/director Ollie Norton-Smith comments, Developing Speed Dial has been an incredibly rewarding but challenging process – since 2019, we have honed and refined the storytelling to create our most ambitious show yet. Unexpectedly, the themes of isolation and connection at the play’s heart have only grown in significance and relevance and it’s been a joyous experience to be back making theatre that responds to our changed world whilst also providing a sense of escape and entertainment. We are beyond excited to see what audiences make of this new, slick play.
Spies Like Us is an ensemble physical theatre company originally formed by a collective of Young Pleasance graduates. In 2020, they were named London Associate Artists at the Pleasance. Speed Dial was shortlisted for the Les Enfants Terribles Award in 2020.