Hannah died a year ago. She killed herself. Her friends decide to get together for a séance. But what starts out as a social occasion, ends up revealing far more than they bargained for.
None of that sounds very humorous but first and foremost, this is a comedy. It quickly becomes clear that the surviving friends along with Josie, Hannah’s sister (Robyn Reilly) aren’t wholly comfortable together. The social discomfort plays out in awkward small talk and bleakly inappropriate wit. But the humour is expertly juxtaposed with excruciating silences because, so often, there isn’t anything to say. The production cleverly intersperses the live action with filmed footage, highlighting the fun the friends had together before Hannah died.
This is a really tricky subject, skilfully handled by director Grace Baker. The actors are all wholly credible in their brusque and bumpy unease with each other, their grief for the friend, their struggle to find meaning in life after this hole has been left in their lives – and their discombobulation when it seems that indeed, their friend is talking to them from ‘the other side’. Zara Louise Kennedy is beautifully witchy as séance leader and nicely heartfelt when she reveals the extent to which she’s always felt left out of their friendship. And Evie Mortimer is gently devastated as the depth of her feelings are revealed.
This brand new play from writer Sally MacAlister is brought to the Fringe by queer theatre company Koi Collective. Whilst the script’s ending might benefit from being signposted a bit more clearly, overall, this is a tough subject, treated with appropriate respect by all involved. After a tough couple of years, this story of coping with devastating loss may resonate.