Voices in Her Ear

at Traverse Theatre

* * * * -

A thought provoking, witty and involving exploration of celebrity psychics.

Image of Voices in Her Ear

There are plenty of laughs to be had at this week’s A PlayA Pie and A Pint, but there’s also a few twists. To begin, we meet psychic Betty (Alison Peebles) – she’s weary from a long career as an intermediary for the spirit world, but financially loaded as a result. It’s a recognisable scene as she performs “readings” to an eager audience, very much in the style of Sally Morgan, raising questions of her dubious authenticity. Betty’s business minded and cynical assistant Siobhan (Neshla Caplan) is always at her side, ensuring the money continues to roll in, feeding her with the audience members’ details she has researched prior to shows and refers to as “safety nets”. That is, until the arrival of Mark (Andrew Still), an insistent and determined punter, who has come for answers.

All three of the actors in this bring solid, believable, rounded and engaging performances. The two women have a real chemistry, combining warmth and rudeness to one another, which brings forth a great deal of comedy and makes them completely credible as long term colleagues. There’s some very good comic acting aided by the provision of David Cosgrove’s funny dialogue and set ups.  But it’s not all frivolity and satire, for this piece takes a darker turn, offering the audience suspense and unpredictability.

Voices in Her Ear provokes thought and discussion on the contentious topic of spiritualism and in particular its connection with celebrity. Can claims of connecting with dead love ones ever be a legitimate area of show business, or are psychics offering a kind and necessary service to desperate mourners? At times it’s not even entirely clear on which side (of cynicism or belief) the characters themselves fall. This is of course intentional, and it makes for an involving watch, as all is not necessarily as it seems…