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Edinburgh Fringe: Cubicle Four – Paradise at the Vaults

Writer: Rachel Jarmy

Director: Sarah Ingrams

Reviewer: Deborah Klayman

[rating: 4]

Essentially a trio of playlets, Cubicle Four shows three duologues between occupants of a cubicle in an A+E department over the course of 24 hours. Written by Rachel Jarmy, each of the encounters is imbued with emotion as the characters find themselves in a heightened situation that brings deep-seated feelings to the fore.

The first piece is between Jonny (Robin Maurice Owen) and his ailing grandmother who discuss their mutual dislike for hospitals, with both revealing a hidden regret. The pair have a believable relationship and the piece is well acted, with Lorraine Baker striking a chord as a woman alternately showing confusion and remarkable clarity. The next scene is between step-brothers Alan and Dave, played by Alan Hay and Ian Bruno respectively. Alan has been injured and the pair enter into a discussion about their dodgy dealings and familial feelings while doing a crossword puzzle together. Bruno has a delightfully deadpan delivery while Hay is entirely sincere, making the exchange touching and funny in equal measure. Although the other pieces are strong in their own right, the final part of this trilogy is the jewel in the crown, with Cat Nicol giving a powerhouse performance as guilt-wracked Phillipa. After ten years with her husband Martin in a permanently vegetative state she is beginning to move on, and gingerly starts to tell him about the companionship she has found with Brian. Cat Nicol fully engages with her rôle, wrestling with the conflicted emotions Phillipa is feeling, playing the full gamut from frustration to despair.

A well-written and thoughtfully performed piece, Cubicle Four could continue exponentially as the innate drama of the situation proves to be a rich vein. A piece that could easily be developed into a full length play, the only pity currently is that it is over too soon.

Until 27th August.

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