Attempts on Her Life

Attempts on Her Life has a notoriety surrounding it that most shows would kill for. Martin Crimp’s infamous script has no characters, setting or even assigned dialogue, creating a blank canvas that makes every production of it completely new and innovative.

Brodricks Productions have fully realised the potential in the script and created a fiercely intelligent and challenging piece that leaves you breathless by lights up.

Approaching a text such as this is a mammoth task, but it’s one that Brodrick Productions rises to meet with a stunning and surreal odyssey into a constantly shifting postmodern world. There is no central plot as such, merely 17 scenes that are all loosely connected by the never-seen character of Anne, who everyone is attempting to describe or define. The cast of four are marvellous to behold, each seamlessly shifting through a wide array of differing characters and not breaking the flow of the play once. The tech also matches their frantic pace with lighting, sound and projection being used to fill in the gaps of the minimalist staging. This is clearly a talented team who utilise their venues capabilities to the max.

The production is an intriguing blend of mismatching theatrical styles; physical theatre gives way to naturalism which gives way to extended monologues which gives way to comedy and so on. In separating the play into sections as they do they provide various snapshots of Anne, creating a kaleidoscope effect of contrasting interpretations on a single person. In this way each scene becomes in and of itself an attempt on Anne’s life, each trying to define or create the one true image of her but ultimately falling short, is she a loving daughter or ruthless terrorist? An Abuser or a victim? Is she the terror of capitalist society or just the subject of idle gossip? By the end as the scenes themselves descend into chaotic shouts of overlapping dialogue we can realise that it may never truly be possible to ever capture one person completely.

As you can probably guess this is pretty heavy stuff, there’s no handholding to be found and the show rattles on at a breakneck pace that will leave you mentally exhausted by the end of it. Even after that you’ll still be picking at your memories looking for more locked within the show’s many intricacies.

The production is not perfect by any means, its own intensity plays against it and by the end the show feels ten minutes longer than it needs to be. Similarly the otherwise stellar cast occasionally had issues with projecting their lines which can get lost in the cavernous space of the venue. These are however minor quibbles on what is otherwise an excellent performance.

Brodricks Productions have fully realised the potential in the script and created a fiercely intelligent and challenging piece that leaves you breathless by lights up. It may be a bit more testing than average Fringe fair but a little mental exercise is good for you, and this show is more than worth breaking a sweat for.

Reviews by Joseph McAulay

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The Blurb

Anne has committed suicide, and everyone's talking about it. Everyone who doesn't know her anyway. News anchors, stand-up comedians, her answering machine. In Martin Crimp's odd, touching and profound masterpiece we are sent tumbling through our mismatched world, ending in giddy insanity. Brodrick Productions brings a heavily stylised, suited and booted clown production. We will see seventeen snapshots loosely centred around Anne and try to work her out together.