@ Morningside Campus Studio Theatre, Edinburgh until Sat 31 Jan 2015

Edinburgh Napier University‘s production of Beth Henley‘s Pulitzer-prize winning production Crimes of the Heart is both enjoyable and frustrating in equal measure.

The quirky Magrath sisters – excellently conveyed by the brilliant Ellen Aitken (as Lenny) and by the voluptuous and very watchable Sarah Ford (as Meg) are reunited with Babe, the younger sister, who is facing trial for shooting her husband. Confronting their pasts and attempting to redefine their futures, the three central characters endure a tempestuous journey, fraught with attorney visits and adultery.

The stage accurately portrays the home of the Magrath sisters in Mississippi, but a rather superfluous array of unused paraphernalia leaves little to the imagination. The traverse layout seemed slightly unnecessary, and only acted as a supplementary to the difficulty some of the less refined actors were having.

A consistent indigenous Southern American accent is difficult to pull off, but apart from the odd word, the cast seemed mostly in control of the intonation and diction problems that can arise from tackling any accent.

Unfortunately, Henley’s text – which should be carried along unforced – seemed to struggle at times, due to the inconsistency in the ability of the cast. Having said that, almost everyone managed to get to grips with the comical nuances in the script, delivering them with heartfelt sincerity.

Ending with a touching fluster around Lenny’s birthday cake, Crimes of the Heart is a funny, serious and absurdly dark play, successfully produced and delivered by a cast with varying ability.