Over the last couple of years Max Dickins has really made a name for himself at Edinburgh Fringe, with his trademark monologues such The Trunk and The Man on The Moor garnering significant critical acclaim. In a departure from his traditional form of storytelling, Kin is a darkly comic two hander performed by Abigail Burdess and Kate Alderton.
Our two protagonists are estranged sisters, brought together by the imminent death of their Father. Throughout the play the Father character is absent, as he seems to have been for most of their adult lives, yet that sense of family brings them together again to face uncomfortable truths.
The two central characters are polar opposites of each other, and Dickins’ writing is able to capture this fairly early on. While one is a successful business woman, the other is more homely, and orientated towards her own family. With the setting firmly established, the sisters can do nothing but wait for their Father’s demise, allowing them the space to air grievances, mend wounds, but also to laugh, as they find an ample supply of condoms, or recreate childhood dance moves.
The setting of Kin in rural America, although the characters are British, helps heighten the sense of isolated suffocation, director Oliver Senton has built on this with the confined set and seeming absence of natural daylight.
Burdess and Alderton both give very moving and poignant performances as the sisters. They both capture perfectly the angst and pain, mixed with love that can only be felt by siblings. There are one or two moments when it feels like we could have gone even deeper in to the story, and more context would have been useful, but that time to explore characters is not always a luxury available at the fringe.
Max Dickins may be absent from the stage physically, but his inimitable writing style is unmistakable. Kin is a very moving story which unfolds beautifully with a subtle comedy woven through, Burdess and Alderton look exhausted by the final bows and that’s a testament to the powerful intricacy of the script