Suicide has been a fairly common theme in Edinburgh Fringe shows this year; the heartache and desperation that can lead to such a final act. Nicola Wren’s Replay looks at the issue from a completely different angle, in a thoroughly engrossing monologue staged in an intimate space within Pleasance Courtyard.
The character portrayed by Wren, who remains nameless, is haunted by the suicide of her brother Jamie. As a Police Officer she has developed a cold detachment to life, and her upcoming interview for promotion is at the forefront of her mind. But, when a pursuit of a thief leads her to the front door of her Brother’s old house the memories come flooding back, and then her mother sends her an old cassette tape; a recording Jamie made for her when she was a child, and the floodgates open.
Filled with descriptive imagery, Replay captures something special about a brother/sister relationship and gives us an insight to the devastation a suicide can bring. Nicola Wren gives an incredibly passionate performance, she goes from this entirely matter of fact Police Officer to wide-eyed child, opening up a chasm of grief that the audience are drawn in to.
It’s really nicely staged, despite only having a bench as a prop. Sound and lighting is used very effectively to segment the different parts of the monologue, in particular where the tape is played for the first time, opening up this dream like sequence of childhood, the return to present day comes like a jolt to the audience, as it does to the character.
Cleverly written and expertly performed, Replay is an absorbing monologue which tackles difficult issues with a strong sense of importance. Brutally honest, it celebrates vulnerability through heartfelt storytelling with a touch of endearing humour.