In a tiny stage at the back of Summerhall, The Letter Room, in association with Northern Stage in Edinburgh, brings a feet stomping, hand clapping, spirit raising show to the fringe festival.
The show might proclaim that there are no miracles here, but it may start making you believe in them
With a six-piece band with guitars, drum kit, brass and keyboard the ensemble spin the fable of Ray, a young man struggling with his mental health who stumbled upon a mythical dance tournament where contestants dance for hours and days on end. Joining, he finds himself carried on a journey through the strange subculture of dancers and learns more about himself than he thought possible.
This show is, simply put, stunning from start to finish, from the first notes played by the band to the last rousing chorus the performers enrapture the audience with strong vibrant characters and a seemingly endless supply of energy that makes their performances electric. More incredible than this is the sheer talent on display here, as each cast member seamlessly alternates between playing instruments, to performing incredibly detailed choreographed dances, to acting in scenes of touching intimacy and vulnerability, often in seconds.
All of this is made more astounding by the fact it is all performed on a tiny sliver of stage in front of the instruments, which normally would spell doom for any sense of pace or movement. This company, however, seems to defy the laws of theatre in making this tiny piece of ground convey all the movement and momentum needed in a show centred around dance. They bring a kinetic energy to the movement sequences that will leave you gasping for breath.
Yet more than anything, No Miracles Here succeeds in creating those rare moments of transcendent bliss that the best type of art elicits from an audience, moments where you are taken up from yourself and filled with sheer joy, wonder and awe at what you are witnessing before you, because it seems impossible. Those moments remind you why you fell in love with theatre in the first place.
That is the ultimate success of No Miracles Here, that it is able to deal with heavy contentious issues like mental health and still bring out, humour, joy and sheer humanity that leaves the audience in a state of rapture.All I can do to cap this off is simply to say that while the show might proclaim that there are no miracles here, it may start making you believe in them.