Scribble, Assembly Roxy, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Andy Edwards and Amy Gilmarten
Andy Edwards (writer), Amy Gilmarten (director), Rachel D'Arcy (Producer), Blair Coron (composer), Jenny Booth (designer), Rachel D’Arcy (producer).
Alan MacKenzie (Ross), Nicola Roy (guest actor).
Running time

With a business-like desk and bulletin board with map, photographs, a bran flakes packet and fairy lights, we could be in for a lecture or a crime procedural drama.

It is introduced by Nicola Roy, the actor who has been parachuted into the support role. She explains that she has not seen the script (draft 49) and will be responding to prompts.

Ross enters and nervously breaks the ice with a couple of stolen Fringe jokes. He is a slightly geeky, PhD candidate in cosmology who has things on his mind; big things like space and gravity, but also how smaller things work, like anxiety and bran flakes.

Also in his head is absent girlfriend Fiona, teaching in China. “I love her” and “we are still together” he repeats. He has methods of coping and channels the energy of his anxiety through a touchstone that is the centre of his world. Rules help too, but intrusive thoughts can break in - obsessive compulsions which are revealed as much darker and more disturbing than simply which cereal to buy.

His thoughts will put him at risk and at the focus of a potentially criminal inquiry in his own mind as the supporting actor questions him. He needs a scribbled shape, a device to monitor and control his errant feelings.

The production has some innovative elements and there is some nice tension in the thread that is pulled in the middle section, but it runs out of ideas and content towards the end.

The notion of the play and supporting actor changing is to represent that our mental health is different every day. As audience members only see one version it’s unlikely to add anything to their experience.

The actors put in good performances, but ultimately as Ross himself says it’s a “frustrating piece to watch”. It’s a production that isn’t likely to mean much to anyone other than its creators and does little to add to the discourse on this area of mental health.

While this first winner of the Assembly Roxy Theatre Award looks good on paper, Scribble is intentionally messy and unfinished and it’s not clear whether anything pleasingly artistic will come of it.

Show Times: 3 – 27 (not 15, 22) August 2017 at 3.50 pm.

Tickets: £9 (£8) to £11 (£10).

Suitability: 16+