Whistleblower[author-post-rating] (2/3 Stars)

With the likes of Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, otherwise known as whistleblowers, facing charges of espionage by the US Government, ImmerCity’s Edinburgh Fringe performance Whistleblower is timely. Audiences become the jury, deciding the fate of an unnamed whistleblower who has leaked governmental documents onto the internet. The Activist (Geraint Hill) puts forward the case that information is power and governments are using this against everyday citizens, whereas The Prosecutor (Victoria Jane Appleton), on the side of law and government, sees the act of the whistleblower as an attack against the American people and their safety, and working with the enemy.

Whistleblower is a well-researched and informative piece, making the audience question the right to be informed and the right to feel protected. Asking whether we should know what our governments are keeping from us or stay naïve is a challenging question. It’s just a shame that Whistleblower fails to go further, with Claney Flynn’s writing covering none of the high-profile cases currently taking place, or finding any depth to the characters. It’s a piece of work that is careful and researched but lacking in any dynamic spark, highlighted by Rosanna Mallinson’s stiff direction.

If there is a merit to be found within the piece it is in the way that the audience are used as a tool to decide the fate of the whistleblower. After hearing the arguments of both sides we are invited to cast our vote, with two differing endings depending upon the outcome. It’s a nice touch to turn the audience into an active participant, but Whistleblower never goes beyond this. We’re left with more questions than answers, and in the 40 minutes of the piece I can’t shake the feeling that it’s a chance missed for some dynamic action. Well researched but ultimately disappointing.

Whistleblower is at C nova as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe until 26 August. For more information and tickets visit the EdFringe website.