Given a fitting late night time slot, and set in an intensely lit room with the feel of a sweaty club, The Unmarried is an essential part of a big night out at the fringe.
Using poetic storytelling, dance and song, writer Laura Gauge takes her audience on what begins as a drunken night with her character Luna and becomes a story of sex, relationships and what it means to be free.
The most intriguing aspect of the play is the chaotic metaphor that runs throughout. Luna’s growing and eventually failing relationship runs parallel to the familiar highs and lows of an eventful yet messy night out. The high of falling in love is mirrored by the excitement that comes with the promise of freedom and the buzz of a first drink, while break up and betrayal is reflected in a hangover, regret and the low of the morning after.
The show takes a while to finds its rhythm in the most literal sense. Though the beat boxing and live singing which accompanies the storytelling feels a little jarring to start with, it eventually becomes a natural part of the show. Singer Georgia Bliss and Beatboxer Haydn-Sky Bauzon are an electric and crucial part of its impact.
The Unmarried is described as ‘a poem turned play’, and these poetic beginnings are clear in the spoken word which forms the core of it. The effectiveness of the spoken word is varied; some rhymes deliver unexpected wit, or pack an emotional punch in a quick turn from raucous to raw. However, though the writing is often witty, it is sometimes predictable and occasionally clichéd. Some moments of simplicity serve to highlight the complication of what is going on around them, while others seem to indicate weaknesses in the otherwise effective poetry.
While some rhymes may be obvious, the story which Gauge’s rhymes tell is anything but what you would expect. The show advertises as ‘putting two fingers up to society’s expectations’ and it does just that in the character of Luna. Just as the show itself is hard to categorise, straddling a line somewhere between physical theatre and spoken word, Luna also resists stereotypes.
The Unmarried is a hurricane of a show, showing us that even the most travelled paths through life can bare the same euphoria as a fast, neon night out.
The Unmarried is playing at the Underbelly Med Quad until August 28 as part of the Edinburgh Fringe.