Beginning with an old recording of two high school seniors imagining their future between the gurgle of bong hits, Tape takes its audience down a dark claustrophobic path of remembrance and regret. The two men are Vince and Jon, once best friends who now, 20 years late,r are reuniting in a dank motel room.
Entirely set in this single location, the space of C too works well for the production. All the seats are high up and leer down at the minimalistic bedroom/bathroom set, crafting a distinct sense of enclosed dread as the tale of Tape unravels. Both Sam Dobson’s Vince, a stoner volunteer firefighter and Will Kynaston’s Jon, a festival circuit filmmaker, are great here, adroitly capturing a subtle sense of lost friendship between men who are now closer to strangers than familiars.
What united them then and bonds them now is Amy, an old love they both share from their youth. Though the exchanges early on are enjoyable in their comfortable ease, when Amy is brought up the amicability soon changes to a vicious, seething exchange. Vince is convinced that Jon had raped Amy all those years ago, Jon at first denies but soon admits it himself. Kynaston is electric here, his inner wrangling palpable as he sweats and fidgets his way to confession, an admission that is secretly recorded by Vince who reveals that Amy is actually on her way to their motel room.
Here then is where the tension dissipates and Tape begins to drag its way to a conclusion. Though billed highly in reminisce by both men, Cat Lewis plays Amy with a reserved disposition that is more frustrating than enigmatic. There is a reassuring calm to her voice but she more whispers than speaks, lacking a swing of rhythm to her voice, rather quickly filling in gaps between the more mannered dialogue of Vince and Jon. This becomes in particularly noticeable when she is supposedly putting Jon to rights with hellish imagery, a moment that never connects.
Lewis isn’t entirely to blame for the faults of Tape however; the trapped-in-a-room narrative just fails to do anything interesting with its scenario, with much of the story taken up by a “you didn’t/you did” dialectic. Tape is ably acted and certainly watchable, but struggles to say anything interesting or worthwhile about the incendiary allegations that it explores.
Tape is at C too (Venue 4) until 25 August. For more information and tickets visit the Edinburgh Fringe website.